Interview: U Aung Nyi Nyi Maw
What additional improvements could be made to the public transport system in Yangon?
U AUNG NYI NYI MAW: Yangon’s public transport system currently comprises the Yangon Bus Service (YBS), the water bus network and taxis. The YBS fleet has 5100 buses, 4500 of which operate on a daily basis, run by 23 different private companies under a scheme of 100 routes coordinated by 18 managers. The water bus network is fully operated by Tint Tint Myanmar. One of our objectives for the coming years is to implement steps towards transit-oriented development, linking land and water transportation. We are currently surveying and analysing data in cooperation with international organisations such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Asian Development Bank and Swedfund. They are helping us identify transit areas, the walking distance from the port to bus stops and the types of facilities required to connect these. It is hoped that this focus will reduce congestion.
How can the Yangon public transport system adopt digital technology to improve efficiency?
AUNG NYI NYI MAW: The YBS operating room monitors everyday routes in the city. Each bus has telematics devices installed, enabling us to control the network and identify speed limit violations and bus conditions. These daily reports are automatically sent to our fleet management teams. Moreover, all YBS buses have CCTV camera systems installed for security purposes.
A committee has also been formed to analyse and carry out the new Yangon Payment Service which will move us away from the current cash payment system to a card system. We are now working with Asia Starmar Transport Intelligent and we hope to have the first phase ready by the end of 2019.
In the future, Yangon’s transport network will be fully coordinated, requiring an IT system to process all the data. By leveraging the opportunities given to us by an intelligent transportation system, we will be able to faster identify and solve problems related to traffic congestion and other customer needs.
Given that only 3% of registered vehicles are insured in Myanmar, how can you ensure a more secure driving environment in Yangon?
AUNG NYI NYI MAW: All vehicles registered under the Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) must have a motor insurance. Each year buses must renew their licences with both the government and the YRTA. Their applications will not be endorsed unless a motor insurance policy has been duly issued by a local foreign company. In order to improve the overall safety conditions of Yangon’s transport network, the YRTA now also monitors commercial trucks. We recently set up a division for regulating their activities and the same motor insurance regulations apply to them.
Considering Yangon’s rapid urban expansion, in particular the New Yangon City project, how can capacity be expanded to meet demand?
AUNG NYI NYI MAW: Three development phases will handle the rapid urban expansion in the Yangon region: research and analysis; planning; and implementation. Given the fast rise in the population, we asked cooperating organisations to help us identify the future required capacity to meet the region’s needs.
The YRTA will have to increase its current fleet, focusing on better safety mechanisms and processes, and obtaining qualified human resources in the first development phase. According to our estimates, we will need an additional 1500 bus units by 2020 to meet the city’s demand. I need to stress the fact that the YRTA is not only increasing capacity by putting more buses on the roads. It is also developing a better coordinated network. These are steps that will certainly help Yangon to develop a more integrated transport system, which in turn will have a positive impact not only on connectivity, but on the economy as a whole.
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