October 20, 2017

Worsening traffic congestion frustrates Yangon commuters

A pedestrian moves faster than stationary cars Thursday near Myaenigone in Yangon, where commuters spend an average two hours per day in traffic, according to a recent study.
A pedestrian moves faster than stationary cars Thursday near Myaenigone in Yangon, where commuters spend an average two hours per day in traffic, according to a recent study.

For office worker Ko Maung Oo, hours spent traveling to and from work by bus each day are a source of “anxiety and frustration.”
His experience is common among Yangon commuters, whom a recent survey found spend an average two hours each day in traffic.
“Traffic moving at a snail’s pace in the congested spots makes us feel despondent,” Ko Maung Oo, who commutes from his suburban home to an office downtown, told The Global New Light of Myanmar on Thursday.
“Our precious time has been stolen on the buses stranded in daily rush hour congestion.”
The Yangon Traffic Report released by auto trading site Motor.com.mm found 44 percent of bus commuters spent between 1-2 hours a day on their daily commute, while 35 percent spent twice as long commuting.
The survey, conducted in late 2014 and early 2015, received responses from about 500 commuters.
It found 65 percent of road users were caught in severe traffic jams at least six times a month, 35 percent were affected three to six times a month. Urban commuters face the most drawn-out journeys due to traffic woes, the report pointed out.
Statistics show 3.7 million, or 79 percent, of Yangon’s almost 6 million people use buses for their daily commute, with 7 percent catching ferries, 4 percent riding circle trains and 2 percent taking taxis.
Taxi driver Ko Lin Phyo said he and fellow drivers were losing money while stuck in traffic.
“Heavy congestions in Yangon reduces our potential earnings as it is unavoidable to be stuck in traffic for several minutes every day,” Ko Lin Phyo, 28, said.
Since the introduction of a scheme to replace old vehicles with imported autos, Yangon has seen an influx of cars, with vehicle numbers rising on roads downtown, as well as in suburbs and satellite towns.
According to figures compiled last December by the Department of Road Transport Administration, 433,788 registered vehicles are running on Yangon roads, accounting for about 80 percent of the country’s 643,719 cars.
The report listed Pyay Road between Myaenigone and Hanthawady roundabout, Hledan Junction, Tamway Junction, areas near Bayintnaung flyover and Theingyizay market among the worst places for congestion.
Some 26 percent of respondents to the Yangon Traffic Report blamed bad drivers for the city’s traffic problems, while 16 percent cited the dramatic increase in vehicle numbers. Another 15 percent pointed to insufficient road infrastructure.

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