Old buses to be traded for car im­port slips

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - Ayenyein­win@mm­times.com AYE NYEIN WIN

Yan­gon trans­port au­thor­i­ties will be­gin ac­cept­ing old buses in re­turn for car im­port slips in a bid to of­fer some form of value to those seek­ing new buses.

YAN­GON Re­gion Trans­port Au­thor­ity Group has de­vised a scheme that will see bus own­ers trade their old buses for car im­port per­mis­sion slips, which they can then on-sell to car deal­ers who are cur­rently un­able to ship in new cars due to an im­port ban.

The elab­o­rate plan is part of the Yan­gon Re­gion gov­ern­ment’s push to form pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships in the cap­i­tal, to reign in the city’s chaotic bus in­dus­try and re­place old buses with new ones.

Ini­tially the idea was for bus com­pa­nies to sell their old buses, most of which are more than 20 years old, to states and re­gions. They would then pur­chase a new bus with that money and en­ter a joint ven­ture with gov­ern­ment. Any short­fall in new bus costs would be made up via a hire pur­chase agree­ment with a lo­cal bank, some­thing the gov­ern­ment had al­ready spo­ken to fi­nan­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions about.

How­ever, a lack of in­ter­est in the pur­chas­ing the old buses has led the gov­ern­ment down a dif­fer­ent path.

“We met with bus own­ers and they are fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in find­ing the money to up­grade to new buses,” said U Maung Aung, sec­re­tary of the gov­ern­ment’s Pub­lic Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity Group.

“We al­lowed them to sell the old buses to other re­gions or states, but no­body wants to buy them.”

From next week, Yan­gon Re­gion gov­ern­ment will ac­cept buses over 20 years of age, U Maung Aung said, in re­turn for a per­mit to im­port new cars.

There is a gen­eral ban on im­port­ing cars in Yan­gon, un­less the im­porter can prove that they have a park­ing space in the city. The re­stric­tions were in­tro­duced by the for­mer gov­ern­ment in an at­tempt to curb con­ges­tion in the city. An im­port slip ex­changed for a bus does not re­quire a park­ing per­mit, and al­lows the im­porter to ship in a 2006 to 2010 model car. The cur­rent mar­ket price for an im­port slip is about K10 mil­lion.

The re­sponse from bus own­ers over the new bus trade-in ini­tia­tive has been mixed.

‘’Some of own­ers will trade in their buses to the gov­ern­ment and buy a new one and join the PPP scheme,” sa id bus owner Ko Ta Yoke Lay. “But, in my opin­ion, about 50 to 70 per­cent of own­ers are not want­ing stay in the pub­lic trans­porta­tion busi­ness any­more.”

Fel­low bus owner U Myo Win, said the sale of the im­port per­mis­sion slips would still fall short of the new bus prices.

“It will cost nearly K30 mil­lion to buy a new bus, so we also need more money to buy the mod­els that are de­manded by the PPP scheme,” he said.

The YRTA has said that only mod­els dat­ing 2006 or newer will be al­lowed to part­ner with the gov­ern­ment in a joint ven­ture, he said.

“But we have re­quested from YRTA to ac­cept mod­els of buses from 2000 to 2005 that are still in good con­di­tion,” he said.

The gov­ern­ment is hop­ing to re­duce the 350 or so bus lines across Yan­gon down to about 50 with its scheme to cre­ate joint pri­vate-pub­lic part­ner­ships.

‘We al­lowed them to sell the old buses to other re­gions or states, but no­body wants to buy them.’

U Maung Aung Pub­lic Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity Group

Photo: Aung Khant

A bus con­duc­tor takes a fare on a busy Yan­gon bus.

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