Over­charg­ing on buses num­ber one com­plaint among com­muters

The Myanmar Times - - Business - AYE NYEIN WIN ayenyein­win@mm­times.com

FARE-GOUG­ING is still top of the list of com­muter com­plaints against Yan­gon’s pri­vately owned buses, trans­port reg­u­la­tors say, de­spite their at­tempts to fine and dis­ci­pline bus staff.

Other com­plaints in­clude rude­ness and, in at least one case, de­mand­ing money with men­aces.

Yan­gon Su­per­vi­sory Com­mit­tee for Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles chair U Hla Aung said 68 per­cent of the griev­ances re­ported by pas­sen­gers were about having to pay more than the sched­uled fare – some­times three to five times as much. Most of the il­le­gal de­mands made by bus con­duc­tors oc­cur after 5pm, when bus su­per­vi­sors go home for the evening.

“The prob­lem con­tin­ues de­spite the ac­tion we’re tak­ing. We in­ves­ti­gate ev­ery com­plaint and fine the staff con­cerned, or im­pose a lim­i­ta­tion on their work­ing days,” said U Hla Aung.

Be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber, the com­mit­tee re­ceived 1716 com­plaints of fare-goug­ing, of which it has re­solved 877, he added.

“We know this goes on at night, but we don’t have enough su­per­vi­sors to cover that pe­riod,” which ex­tends un­til buses shut down for the night at about 11pm, he said.

Some com­muters are loath to com­plain, even when treated rudely.

“Last week, I took the 57 bus [from Thaketa to Lan­madaw town­ships] at 7pm. Nor­mally the trip costs K100 for five stops. The con­duc­tor de­manded K200 be­cause it was night-time. I tried to get off, but the con­duc­tor re­fused to let me un­til I’d given him an ex­tra K100. He looked like a gang­ster,” said Ko Aung Ko from Thaketa town­ship.

“I looked up the phone num­ber of the com­mit­tee, but I didn’t com­plain,” he added, say­ing he thought noth­ing would come of it.

Buses on the North Dagon-Sule Pagoda route of­ten de­mand K300-K500 at night.

North Dagon res­i­dent U Than Toe said, “Usu­ally I go home about 8pm, and they charge me K300, some­times K500. I pay, but they treat com­muters very badly. I won’t com­plain to the com­mit­tee, but if a con­duc­tor speaks to me rudely, I’ll hit him.”

A new agency, the Yan­gon Re­gion Trans­port Author­ity Group, has been formed to ad­min­is­ter the bus sys­tem, but at this point the Su­per­vi­sory Com­mit­tee is still re­spon­si­ble pend­ing a change in the law. “To su­per­vise about 4000 buses sys­tem­at­i­cally will re­quire many im­prove­ments. But we would like to re­as­sure pas­sen­gers that if they com­plain, we will take ac­tion,” he added.

YRTAG sec­re­tary U Maung Aung said, “We’re also re­ceiv­ing com­plaints. We would ask pas­sen­gers to be pa­tient and co­op­er­ate with us. Once the PPP has been formed, we will deal with the com­pa­nies re­spon­si­ble for the buses,” he added, re­fer­ring to the pro­posed pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship that will as­sume re­spon­si­bil­ity for the bus service.

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