CHIEF MINISTER ASSURES ‘MOST ADVANCED’ TECHNOLOGY TO BENEFIT NEARLY 3M USERS
FOR THE convenience of nearly 3 million commuters who use public transport on a daily basis, an international payment system will be launched in Myanmar’s commercial hub in the last week of April, Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein said on Friday.
“We will launch YPS [Yangon Payment System] by April. We will make sure YPS cards are accepted for all buses, trains, and other means of transport as well as for other services. We are the last in the region to use such a system, so we have a chance to use the latest technology. Our system will be so advanced that it may not be available in other [Asean] countries,” he said.
Phyo Min Thein said that experts from home and abroad would support the city’s transportation reforms. He said that Japan International Cooperation Agency had promised to continue its support to regional authorities, particularly in the reforms for the city’s further development. Yet, he did not mention the names of other international partners.
He said local banks and financial institutions could submit their proposals for the transformation from cash to the card system, in which Yangon Region Transport Authority would play a key role.
“The card system will be helpful to us because it will let us know the exact number of commuters using our public transportation services. Once we get the accurate data, it will be easier for us to make proper arrangements for better services,” he said. YPS is not the only tool in Yangon’s digitalisation of transportation services. The regional government has also instructed bus owners to install the GPS system and place CCTV cameras in all their buses, to ensure that every bus line is under the control of YRTP.
CCTVs will also be installed at all traffic stations and bus/train stations. Bus stations will also be internationalised, and initially 250 stations in major areas will be modernised in the first half of this year. Such efforts will ensure protection of female passengers from sexual harassment and prevention of pickpockets on the buses, he said.
“We will directly control all the buses from the control centre by April. Some owners, drivers and bus conductors do not want the change but they must.
“They need to ensure best services to passengers. Otherwise, they may get out of the business forever,” he added. The chief minister warned bus owners that hundreds of business people are eyeing opportunities to enter the massive transportation business.
Yangon Bus Service was launched on January 16, after the decades-long All Bus Lines Control Committee was abolished by the regional government. YBS has planned to upgrade its services once in every three months.
To date, YBS operates more than 3,500 buses in 79 bus lines across the city. Among them, only 1,500 buses meet the quality standards set by the regional authorities. Hence, 3,000 new buses will be imported via a government-to-government scheme by April, in order to cater to the convenience of Yangon dwellers.
In addition to the modernisation of buses, the regional government has plans to upgrade railway transport as well as to implement water taxis running on Hlaing River and Nga Moe Yeik River to ease the city’s traffic congestion.
“We are now striving to make Yangon a smart city with an international transportation system by January 2018,” said the chief minister.