Inland Water Transport will begin river ferry services between ports in Hlaing Tharyar township and the Sin Oh Tan port in Latha township from November 12 to provide an alternate means of transport for workers, an official said last week.
U Kyin Nar, IWT manager, said it sometimes took two hours for commuters in Hlaing Tharyar to travel downtown by road, and the ferry service aimed to reduce travel times.
“The number of vehicles on Yangon’s roads is much higher than in recent years and increasing,” he said. “The result is worsening traffic congestion and longer commutes, especially for people living in outer townships such as Hlaing Tharyar. It sometimes takes more than two hours for people living in Hlaing Tharyar to travel to their offices in downtown.
“Representatives have raised this issue in the hluttaws and we think this is a solution to some of the problems,” he told The Myanmar Times on November 8.
He said there will be two ferries a day – departing Hlaing Tharyar at 7am and arriving at Sin Oh Tan port at about 8am. The afternoon service will leave Sin Oh Tan at 5pm and is expected to arrive in Hlaing Tharyar at 6pm.
The vessel has a maximum capacity of 300 but he said IWT has a spare vessel that can also carry 300 passengers.
Another IWT official said the ferries will be two-deck vessels and the fare will be K250. A rate for foreign commuters has not been fixed, he said.
“At first we will only offer services between Hlaing Tharyar and Latha township but if the public requests us to stop at points along that route we will make the necessary arrangements,” U Kyin Nar said.
However, several commuters have already questioned the operating times of the ferries.
U Kyin Nar said IWT is aware the initial service is not perfect.
“I know that a 7am ferry is not convenient for office employees and construction workers who start work after 9am but we know there are many students and fruit and vegetable traders who need to arrive early in the morning,” he said.
“If enough people complain about the inconvenient times we will arrange another service that will depart at 8am and 6pm,” he said.