Yangon govt yet to name start date of new bus payment despite tender winner selected
THE service provider for the card payment system of Yangon’s buses has been selected. The regional government originally aimed to start the new service by February. But, four months after the target start date, the authorities have not named a date for the implementation of the cashless payment services.
The Yangon regional government has chosen Asia Starmar Transport Intelligent Co (Asia Starmar) as the service provider for Yangon Payment Services ( YPS) for the city’s bus system, known as the Yangon Bus Service ( YBS).
The regional government originally selected Excel KC Myanmar as the cashless payment system service provider on January 10. After conducting checks and meeting with a total of 14 companies which tendered for the project, the Tender Supervisory Committee shortlisted Anypay Payment Services Co, Asia Stamar Transport Intelligent Co., and Excel KC Myanmar as the top three potential candidates for the job.
However, the authorities decided to annul the selection because of changes within Excel KC. The government said in April that Excel KC would no longer be eligible to build and implement a card payments system covering public transport.
One reason Excel KC Myanmar no longer qualifies is that Acer Company, which would have helped to raise foreign investment capital and contribute technological knowhow in the execution of YPS, had pulled out from the Excel KC Myanmar consortium, the regional government said. Among Excel KC Myanmar’s strengths are its partners, including Acer, as they were able to bring in foreign capital as well as new technologies needed to build a competent YPS system. On April 9 though, Acer said it was pulling out of the consortium, essentially the disqualifying the whole consortium from carrying out the contract.
Hence, the authorities decided that Excel KC did not have the necessary qualifications to implement the cashless payment system and that the company’s status as tender winner for the project has been revoked.
After another two months following the cancellation, on June 13, the government announced Asia Starmar Transport Intelligent Co as the winner.
The firm and the YBS will sign a contract to operate the payment system and will then outline the timeline for the services to be rolled out, according to Daw Yi Yi Khin, chief marketing officer of Asia Starmar, told The Myanmar Times.
Daw Yi Yi Khin added that her firm is committed to create a payment system which suits the needs for the consumers, i.e. passengers. Asia Starmar has 15 years of experience in operating related technology services.
The regional government started inviting Expression of Interest (EOI) on the YPS proposal last August.
Under the new YBS system, the government had replaced all bus conductors with cash boxes in all buses. However, commuters abused the system by placing paper instead of cash into the boxes, while others paid torn or damaged notes. By implementing the new prepaid card system, the government hopes to solve these problems. According to U Phyo Min Thein, the prepaid card can also be used in trains, water taxis, restaurants and supermarkets by connecting with the banks. Cash will be deducted directly from the cards and commuters will be charged based on distance in miles.
’ We hope to start the service by February, but can’t say when exactly. And we can’t say definitely that the card can be used by other modes of transportation and supermarkets,” secretary U Maung Aung from Yangon Region Transport Authority ( YRTA) said in January.
While cashless payment system is now prevalent in many countries, it is an innovation in Myanmar.