Con­tro­ver­sial new fees at Baw­gathiri bus sta­tion get Mar­tyrs’ Day waive

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTOO THANT thanhtoo@mm­

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

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