HOUSE OF THE WEEKmore
Authorities ban light truck buses in downtown areas
(Volume 26, No. 511)
AUTHORITIES have withdrawn the operating permits of bus lines using light trucks in downtown areas because of safety concerns, officials told The Myanmar Times earlier this month.
Yangon police have cancelled the permits of bus lines using light trucks, including the models Dina, Canter, and Hilux, that were operating in six downtown townships, Police Captain Win Swe from the Department of Wireless and Traffic Police of Yangon Division said.
The rule came into effect on January 1 and traffic police began enforcing the ban – introduced after a series of accidents, including collisions, overturned vehicles and buses crashing into trees and lamp posts – earlier this month.
“In downtown areas there are a lot of buses and it is difficult [for traffic police] to control them. Some light trucks, such as Dina and Hilux, are driving very fast, breaking the traffic rules, overtaking the other, larger buses, and there have been many cases when the driver has lost control and the vehicle has overturned,” Pol Cap Win Swe said. “This is why we have begun prohibiting these buses from operating in downtown areas and shifted them to other outlying townships.”
Permits to operate downtown were withdrawn from a total of 1425 buses, according to an official announcement. This includes 38 routes operating with 761 Dina and Canter buses and 23 routes using 664 Hilux vehicles, the official told The Myanmar Times.
The ban covers Latha, Lanmadaw, Pabedan, Kyauktada, Botahtaung and Pazundaung townships.
The official said the light trucks could still be used on bus routes in the 33 other townships in Yangon, and could also be used privately in downtown areas.
The light trucks were permitted to operate as buses because previously there was a shortage of larger passenger buses.
With a partial liberalisation of bus imports, it has become much easier to acquire larger buses, which Pol Cap Win Swe said are more safe for passengers.
“We let companies use Dina and Canter vehicles as buses in the past to improve public transportation, as there weren’t many large buses. But now there are many buses and the majority of accidents involve light trucks.”
Some are supportive of the rule change. “When I was living in Baukhtaw [in Yankin township], I always took a route 105 Dina bus, and the driver would go so fast, I would pray to God to protect me until I reached my office,” said another office worker in downtown Yangon. “When I arrived at work I would always feel tired and would have a backache because the trip was so rough.” –
Translated by Thiri Min Htun