Govern­ment warn­ing sent to bus op­er­a­tors over in­creased fares

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

THE Yan­gon Su­per­vi­sory Com­mit­tee for Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles says it in­tends to is­sue a warn­ing to bus com­pa­nies against over­charg­ing af­ter re­ceiv­ing a num­ber of cus­tomer com­plaints of fare-goug­ing among pri­vate op­er­a­tors.

Un­der the fares es­tab­lished by the Yan­gon Re­gion govern­ment, buses charge rates that rise in in­cre­ments of K50 up to K200 de­pend­ing on the dis­tances trav­elled. Al­though some up­graded buses, which are sup­posed to of­fer seats and air-con­di­tion­ing, charge be­tween K200-K300 per trip.

But ac­cord­ing to U Hla Aung, chair of the su­per­vi­sory com­mit­tee, there has been a flurry of cus­tomers com­plain­ing that sub-stan­dard busses have been de­mand­ing K300 from cus­tomers af­ter they have boarded the ve­hi­cle.

“The bus lines can’t de­fine the bus fare them­selves,” he said. “Some com­muters have been com­plain­ing to us, so we in­form the bus lines if they want to in­crease the bus fare they will need to re­port to us and we will seek a re­quest from the Yan­gon Re­gional govern­ment of­fice.”

The govern­ment is cur­rently work­ing on a pro­gram to re­struc­ture Yan­gon’s chaotic pub­lic trans­port sys­tem though pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships. At present, hun­dreds of pri­vate buses op­er­ate along hun­dreds of lines, where con­duc­tors earn a wage from what they can ex­tract from pas­sen­gers.

The mul­ti­plic­ity of op­er­a­tors, some with mul­ti­ple buses on the same line, claim­ing air-con­di­tion­ing when they don’t, is creat­ing prob­lems for pas­sen­gerss, U Hla Aung said.

“For ex­am­ple, they [op­er­a­tors] might have 30 buses in one bus line. They used air-con­di­tion­ers in 15 buses and the rest of buses are only or­di­nary,” he said. “It can be con­fus­ing for com­muters.”

U Hla Aung said the com­mit­tee would be forced to take ac­tion against bus op­er­a­tors that failed to heed the warn­ing, al­though he did not say what penal­ties would ap­ply.

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