Bus compound entry fee hurting mechanics
MECHANICS at Nay Pyi Taw’s Bawga Thiri Highway Bus Compound say recently imposed vehicle entrance fees are costing them business and are calling for an exemption.
The new fees have sent some regular customers elsewhere and now business is slow, said U Nyi Nyi Swe, owner of the Thein Htoo San auto parts store.
“If a regular customer comes to the bus compound to inflate their tyres, it costs them K200 for the inflation but K300 for the entrance fee … so they go to other shops where they do not have to pay that extra cost,” he said. “One customer wanted us to check their car engine but they got impatient waiting in the queue to pay the entrance fee and went to another workshop. At the moment, our business is down 50 percent.”
In 2007, fees were rolled out for a month and then abolished after public outcry.
The government reinstated the fees on July 1.
While business suffers, owners still have to pay a monthly shop rental fee, an annual business licence fee, labour costs, taxes and electricity bills, he said.
He claims that the government imposed the fees in a non-transparent way, without informing the business owners.
The auto mechanics are calling for an exemption from the fees charged to all vehicles that enter the compound.
“We were told to seek permission from the respective authorities in order to gain free entry. But we do not want to do that because staff responsible for granting permission were unfriendly to us,” said U Nyi Nyi Swe.
Of the roughly 80 shops in the highway compound, 59 are auto mechanics and each shop has at least one private car.
Four times, the shop owners have submitted a petition, requesting the removal of an entrance fee for private cars and regular customers, to Nay Pyi Taw Mayor Myo Aung, Nay Pyi Taw City Development Committee, Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Than Soe Aung (NLD; Pyinmana), the Custom Department director, the bus compound director and President U Htin Kyaw.
“They contacted me first,” U Than Soe Aung told The Myanmar Times. “I suggested that they not stage a protest but submit a letter to Nay Pyi Taw Council. I often contact Nay Pyi Taw City Development Committee to enquire about this. I was told private cars owned by shop owners will be exempt from paying the entrance fee. And some cars are already exempt.”
But the local MP has yet to meet with the shop owners.
“I am helping them even though I have not met with them,” he said. “But I am not the one who is supposed to make the decision. It only concerns the authorities.”
A vehicle pays an entrance fee at the Bawga Thiri Bus Compound.