Bus driv­ers un­der scru­tiny

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTOO THANT thanhtoo@mm­times.com

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

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