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October 16, 2018

Authorities negotiate with container truck protestors, traffic police clear traffic congestion

Container trucks drive past a cargo container yard at a port in Yangon.  
Photo: Pe Zaw

Authorities have entered negotiations with the container truck drivers protesting over the change in their hours of operation, and a troop of a hundred traffic police cleared the congestion from the protest, according to Police Captain Aung Naing Oo from Kyimyindine Township Traffic Police Division No.40.
The protests began at 8pm on 10 October at the junction of Home Street and Kannar Road in Kyimyindine Tsp. The protests were the result of dissatisfaction over the change of operating hours for container trucks from 8pm-6am to 9pm-6am and the subsequent arrests related to it.
About two hundred truck drivers and their assistants blocked half of the road from Home Street and Kyimyindine Kannar Road junction that reached to the New Thirimingalar Market on Bayinnaung Road, as of yesterday morning.
Police Captain Aung Naing Oo said after the operating hours were changed the truck drivers refused to leave at the new departure time of 9pm. He said negotiations lasted until 7am and achieved a degree of success, by which traffic police began clearing the congestion along the road. He added that the remaining demands will be discussed with the Traffic Rules Enforcement Supervisory Committee.
U Ye Kaung, an executive member of the Myanmar Container Trucks Association, said he views the protest as a united demonstration and not one of instigation. He said officials from the association will submit the truck drivers’ demands to the government. He said the demands include clearing traffic congestions at Thirimingalar Market and Sanpya Fish Market, clearing double parked cars and five to six other points. The main concern is the drop in their income, said U Ye Kaung.
Ko Pyae Sone, a truck driver, said the restriction in operating hours can cause traffic accidents as drivers struggle to reach their destinations on time and can reduce their income too. He said the operating hours should be increased.
Ko Tun Lin Aung, another truck driver, said cargo inspections begin in the morning and can end at 3-4pm the earliest or 7-8pm at the latest, with another hour spent on lining up the trucks for deployment. He said the restrictions are unsuitable for them.
The Yangon Region Government restricted the routes and operating hours of container trucks on 1 November 2016 to ensure less congestion in public traffic.
The original schedule allowed for container trucks from Kyimyindine Kannar Road to pass through the inner city to Insein between 8pm to 6am. Some exceptions were made to allow trucks to operate from 1pm to 2pm and for trucks traveling from Insein to Kyimyindine to operate from 11am to 12pm.
The results from yesterday’s negotiations tell that operating hours will resume from 8pm to 6am as before, and trucks traveling from Hlinethaya Township to Shwepyitha Township will be allowed to operate from 11am to 3pm, although no official announcement has been made as of yet. There are approximately 15,000 container trucks operating in the Yangon Region with 5,000 registered in the Container Trucks Association.

 

Zaw Gyi

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