Government warning sent to bus operators over increased fares
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.