Yangon govt yet to name start date of new bus pay­ment de­spite ten­der win­ner se­lected

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Business - 8 THIHA KO KO thi­hakoko@mm­times.com

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.

A com­muter steps into a YBS bus in Yangon. Photo: Aung Khant

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