Upgraded bus system to kick off next week

A Bus Rapid Transit system, designed to relieve traffic congestion in Yangon and increase the safety of commuters, is aiming to launch the second week of February.

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“We will do a test run on February 7 for phase one and we will officially run on February 9,” said U Maung Aung, chair of the establishment committee.

At present, 18 buses have arrived in Myanmar that will run from Htaukkyant to 8 Mile junction, from where buses will travel along both Pyay and Kabar Aye Pagoda roads making a total of 23 stops.

At the end of February, when another 45 buses will arrive, the committee hopes to start phase 2, which counts 27 bus stops and covers routes connecting Hlaing Tharyar to 8 Mile, Dagon University to Parami Road, and Thilawa special economic zone to Botahtaung Pagoda Road.Over 80 percent of Yangon’s 5.7 million resident rely on public transportation made up of privately owned lines that, according to the committee’s chair, are badly disciplined and refuse to take responsibility when accidents occur.

“We want to reduce the time that the commuters waste on busses, sometimes two or three hours a day, and travel should be more comfortable,” said U Maung Aung.

If the new bus system is a success, the committee intends to increase up to 100 buses.

The “BRT lite” scheme is based on a plan drawn up in 2013 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a BRT system intended to cover much of the city. The less-ambitious version was chosen because it costs less than the original plan.

The left-hand-drive buses will be air-conditioned and four CCTV cameras will be installed inside. The buses will run in the right lane and also normal buses can use this lane, but they need to favour the BRT buses.

“If the system is a success, everybody will use the BRT and they will no longer use their cars,” said U Maung Aung.

The committee recruited bus drivers through an advertisement in state-owned newspapers and 21 bus drivers have already been assigned.

They will receive a monthly salary of about K400,000. Most bus drivers on privately owned buses get paid on commission, which prompts competition between bus lines with dangerous road situations as a result.

Ticket fares will be K300, after initial fears of commuters that it would be much higher than the current fares ranging from K100 to K300. The new buses will use an iPay system in addition to collecting the fares in cash.

“At the start, we will give free tickets to commuters that will include K1000 credit. The conductors will show customers how to use the system,” said director U Ko Kyaw Zaya from Integrated Smart Solutions Company which is responsible for the payment system.

The project has an estimated cost of K25 billion (US$22.97 million).

By Aye Nyein Win   |   Wednesday, 03 February 2016

 Credit : Myanmar Times

 

 

 

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