Government denies motor committee abolition
An official has denied reports that the Yangon Region Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicles will be abolished in September.
A GOVERNMENT official has quashed reports that the Yangon Region Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicles will be abolished in September, although plans are still in place to absorb the committee into a new public transportation group.
The reports originated from Lieutenant Colonel Aung Ko Oo from the No 2 Yangon Traffic Police Force, who told a traffic police media briefing on August 26 that the supervisory committee would be disbanded on September 15.
This led to a series of articles in the media reporting an imminent end to the motor vehicle committee, which has responsibilities that include taxi registration and disciplining drivers and conductors on the city’s chaotic bus lines.
But U Maung Aung, secretary of the recently formed Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA), said the reports were completely untrue. The Yangon Region government is planning to have YRTA take over responsibility for all aspects of public transportation, but is not ready to disband the motor vehicle committee yet, he said.
“When we are ready we will make an official announcement,” he said.
The YRTA was formed in July with responsibility for addressing traffic congestion, and reforming the public bus, taxi and water transportation systems. The broad remit led many people to assume that the motor vehicle committee was obsolete.
Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein said later that same month that although the motor vehicle committee would be replaced by the new transport authority, the committee’s members would be absorbed into the YRTA.
But that has yet to happen, and despite assumptions to the contrary the motor vehicle committee is still acting as disciplinarian for the city’s bus lines.
“We haven’t received any direction [that the committee is being abolished],” said committee chair U Hla Aung on August 29. “People thought that after the YRTA was formed the committee was no more, but we’re still carrying out our duties.”
Aggrieved commuters with complaints about the public bus system should still contact the committee as before, he added. U Maung Aung echoed that the committee was still in charge of such cases, but that responsibility would eventually fall to the YRTA.
The transport authority is already working to update Yangon’s bus system with a plan to reduce the number of lines from around 350 to 50 and to have public-private partnership firms apply to run them. The application deadline for firms interested in running the new bus lines is today. The new body also plans to reform the taxi system, creating defined taxi stands and a new registration system, which it hopes will reduce traffic congestion.
“We’re going to emphasise public convenience,” said U Maung Aung of the YRTA’s reform plans. “Buses and taxis are everywhere on Yangon’s roads and traffic jams are regular.”
Taxi drivers also break rules of the road to pick up and find passengers, and taxi stands will help prevent this, he said. The YRTA is also planning a GPS system to monitor taxi locations, U Maung Aung added.
‘People thought ... the committee was no more, but we’re still carrying out our duties.’
U Hla Aung Supervisory Committee
Yangon’s buses and taxis are both expected to be reformed by the Yangon Region Transport Authority.