Govern­ment de­nies mo­tor com­mit­tee abo­li­tion

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

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

Photo: Staff

Yangon’s buses and taxis are both ex­pected to be re­formed by the Yangon Re­gion Trans­port Au­thor­ity.

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