Controversial new fees at Bawgathiri bus station get Martyrs’ Day waive
ENTRY fees enacted on July 1 at Nay Pyi Taw’s Bawgathiri Highway Bus Station, which have caused a stir among business owners at the station, will not be collected on July 19 in honour of the 69th anniversary of Martyrs’ Day.
“All the cars will be allowed to enter free of charge on that day,” said Ko Sa Lone, an official from the company that won the tender to collect the fees. “The purpose is to do something in July: either donate the money that is collected on July 18 or allow all cars to enter free of charge.”
They chose the latter plan because it also allows the staff a day of rest on Martyrs’ Day, which happens to fall on the full moon day of Waso this year.
Additionally, the plan aims to sway public opinion in favour of the company that won the tender.
“People thought that the tender and tax was a collusion with the City Development Committee from long ago,” Ko Sa Lone said. “The bus station fees will be free on July 19 so that the public knows we are not operating in cooperation with the City Development Committee.”
The operation team won the tender at a bid of K235 million (US$200,000), which gave them the right to collect bus station fees for the nine remaining months of the financial year. In abolishing the fees for a day, they expect to lose out on an estimated K900,000, Ko Sa Lone said.
Bus line owners argued against the entry fees and had their rates lowered, at least temporarily. Business owners who operate out of the bus station have asked to pay the fee only once per day, noting that they make multiple trips in and out of the station to run errands. Many have threatened to protest. – Translation by San Layy