Bus drivers under scrutiny
THE Highway Police Force is warning bus drivers without a nga licence, meant for those operating large vehicles, to stay off the Yangon-Nay Pyi Taw-Mandalay highway.
A plan is in the works to ban drivers without the appropriate licences, Police Major Yan Naung Oo told The Myanmar Times yesterday.
“Bus and bus line owners should ensure their drivers have nga driving licences,” he said. “As a preventive measure to protect passengers, we will not allow buses that are not driven by nga licence holders to use the highway.”
Mobile teams have carried out checks on passenger buses and they found that some buses are driven by kha, ga and gagyi licence holders, in violation of traffic regulations.
Drivers’ licences issued by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ Road Transport Administration Department classify types of vehicles and assign corresponding types of driving licences.
Nay Pyi Taw Traffic Rules Enforcement Supervisory Committee chair U Win Swe told The Myanmar Times that only nga licence holders are permitted to drive passenger buses.
Police Colonel Soe Myint Oo from the Highway Police Force said at a press conference on October 7 that some bus lines have no choice but to use other types of licence holders due to a shortage of skilled drivers.
“If they continue using unskilled drivers … we will not give them permission to use the highway and they will have to use the old road,” he said.
A passenger bus can typically carry about 50 people, so trained drivers are essential for the safety of passengers. But U Win Swe said it is hard to find skilled and experienced drivers.
After an accident in March 2014 that left 11 people dead, the Road Transport Administration Department retested 124 nga licence holders and only 27 passed, he said.
Police Major Yan Naung Win said passenger buses travelling more than 200 miles (325 kilometres) require an assistant driver. The trip from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw is just around 200 miles, so a second driver is not needed, but trips to places like Meiktila and Mandalay do require a co-pilot.
Pol Maj Yan Naung Win said that after the National Road Safety Council issues instructions, he expects action will be taken.
– Translation by Zar Zar Soe