Old buses to be traded for car import slips
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
A bus conductor takes a fare on a busy Yangon bus.