Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New body to tackle Yangon transport problems

A public transport body has been tasked with finding solutions to Yangon’s growing traffic congestion.

The President’s Office announced the formation of the 10-member Yangon City Public Transport Authority on January 7. The purpose of the group is to ensure the safety and comfort of commuters by overseeing road, rail, water and other transport services in the city, the office said in a statement.

The group’s wide-ranging mandate includes everything from assessing air pollution and easing bottlenecks through improved traffic management to commissioning the construction of new infrastructure, the statement said.

The group is responsible to the Yangon Region government and will work in collaboration with Yangon City Development Committee.

It is led by retired ambassador U Kyi Thein, while the body’s secretary is U Hla Aung, chairman of the Yangon Region Central Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicles, better known as Ma Hta Tha (Central). Its members are mostly retired civil servants who formerly worked in the ministries of transport, rail transportation, construction and information.

So far, few details have been released about how the body will go about tackling transport issues in Yangon, and even its members appear to be in the dark.

“At the moment I can’t give any details about what we will do because I really don’t know anything for sure yet,” said secretary U Hla Aung.

U Win Lwin, another member of the body, called for the public to cooperate with the transport authority.

“The population in Yangon is six million and the transportation network is not developed enough [for a city of that size]. I want to focus on easing traffic jams and would like to suggest to the public to cooperate with our group,’’ said

Ma Nandar, a 24-year-old resident of South Dagon, said traffic congestion is a major concern for all commuters in Yangon.

“I face terrible traffic jams every day when I commute from my home in South Dagon to my office in downtown. I feel that we are always wasting our time taking the bus and being caught in traffic. If the group can solve this problem, I will be so happy. But I find it hard to believe they can make much of a difference,” she said.