Yan­gon bus com­mit­tee plans PPP trans­for­ma­tion to op­er­ate new lines

The Myanmar Times - - Business - Ayenyein­win@mm­times.com AYE NYEIN WIN

THE Yan­gon Re­gion Bus Con­trol Com­mit­tee is form­ing a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship (PPP) com­pany and has ap­plied to be one of sev­eral such firms that will run bus lines as part of an over­haul of the city’s pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem, com­mit­tee chair U Min Zaw told The Myan­mar Times.

He said the new com­pany will be called Yan­gon Ur­ban Pub­lic Trans­porta­tion Com­pany (YUPT), which the bus con­trol com­mit­tee is form­ing at the re­quest of the Yan­gon Re­gion gov­ern­ment’s chief min­is­ter, U Phyo Min Thein.

The re­gion gov­ern­ment is hop­ing to re­duce the 350 or so bus lines across Yan­gon’s chaotic trans­port sys­tem to around 50, and is en­cour­ag­ing com­pa­nies to form PPPs in or­der to op­er­ate them.

A pub­lic-pri­vate joint ven­ture set up last year to op­er­ate a new Bus Rapid Tran­sit sys­tem, BRT Lite, has gone well, but that only op­er­ates on two routes.

Yan­gon Re­gion’s Pub­lic Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity Group (PTAG) said that so far eleven com­pa­nies have ap­plied to op­er­ate bus lines un­der the new sys­tem, and the dead­line for ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions is to­mor­row.

PTAG sec­re­tary U Maung Aung said that ap­pli­cants in­cluded Mit­tar Hlaing and a firm owned by mil­i­tary con­glom­er­ate Myanma Eco­nomic Hold­ings Lim­ited.

The bus con­trol com­mit­tee’s YUPT is ap­ply­ing to op­er­ate 36 bus lines, U Min Zaw said. But some mem­bers are un­happy with the plans to form a PPP com­pany.

The com­mit­tee has around 1500 mem­bers, all of whom – in­clud­ing U Min Zaw – are pri­vate bus own­ers. Col­lec­tively they own around 2000 buses, but many of these ve­hi­cles are old. If the planned PPP firm is to op­er­ate bus lines it needs new ve­hi­cles.

“Some of the own­ers are wor­ried that they won’t get much if they sell their buses and that it won’t be enough to buy a new one,” said U Min Zaw.

As a first step in build­ing up its fleet the bus con­trol com­mit­tee is ap­ply­ing to the gov­ern­ment to im­port 250 South Korean-made buses – mostly 2006 and 2007 mod­els – and has plans to im­port an­other 250. This also re­quires ap­ply­ing to the gov­ern­ment for help se­cur­ing a K15 mil­lion bank loan to help fund the pur­chase, U Min Zaw said.

Many com­mit­tee mem­bers are also con­cerned that as part of a PPP firm their in­comes will drop. Un­der the cur­rent sys­tem, bus own­ers make money from ticket sales on their in­di­vid­ual buses. As part of a PPP firm prof­its would be shared, and bus own­ers would rely on the en­tire ven­ture be­ing prof­itable.

In or­der to ad­dress con­cerns that such ven­tures will re­sult in losses, U Phyo Min Thein in July said that the gov­ern­ment would help PPP firms by award­ing them petrol dis­tri­bu­tion li­cences.

Bus con­trol com­mit­tee mem­bers are un­der no obli­ga­tion to par­tic­i­pate in the PPP firm, but U Min Zaw said the new com­pany will target pri­vate bus own­ers in its first round of share sales. Shares will be priced at K100,000 each, and YUPT will ex­tent sales to the gen­eral pub­lic later on, said U Min Zaw.

PTAG sec­re­tary U Maung Aung said that he hopes to see the new bus sys­tem up and run­ning in Novem­ber.

Photo: Staff

Yan­gon Re­gion gov­ern­ment is hop­ing pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship com­pa­nies can help re­form the city’s chaotic bus sys­tem.

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