August 20, 2016

Yangon’s new trams bring hope of more commuters

Passengers on board a tramcar. Photo: Moe Makha
Passengers on board a tramcar. Photo: Moe Makha

DESPITE attracting great public attention, the newly-opened electric line that started running along Strand road as of 11 January received an average of 180 passengers a day only until its third day of service, according to a train crew. After this period passenger numbers decreased.
Ko Win Hlaing, an assistant supervisor of Myanmar Railways, said that most passengers took the three-carriage tram for pleasure, rather than real passengers using the service for transport.
The electric train is currently running on a journey of around 3.5 miles that starts at Wardan Street and runs to Linsadaung in Botahtaung Township. The tram ride costs K100 per head and the tram service operates six times each day from 8 am to 1 pm.
According to the train crew, this figure was slightly higher than the number of passengers who took the RBE train that ran previously on the same route as RBE train service received 120 passengers on average per day, he said.
“I have never ridden the tram”, said U Tun Myint. “So, I have taken the tram for pleasure.”
The 61-year-old Yangonite expressed his view that the reason the tram gets few passengers is that the tram line is short and a longer line will be of benefit to passengers who want to use the train for long journeys to avoid heavy traffic.
Myanmar Railways under the Ministry of Rail Transportation introduced the tram line with the aim of helping Yangonites to relieve some of the pressure on the city’s jam-packed downtown area.    Other tram passengers also gave voice to their worries about a few of concrete blocks placed along the line, calling for more blocks to be placed all.
U Aye Lwin who lives on 26 street, Pabedan Township also expressed his view that there would be more passengers on the tram if the tram line was longer than the current one and the train service operated in accord with its timetable.
He also called for strict action to be taken against undisciplined passengers and proposed that tram service should be extended to evening.
The team of the three-carriage electric train vehicle
comprises six train crews including a driver and two police officers.
According to figures for those two days, the tram provided its service to 195 passengers on 11 January and 166 on the second day.—Maung Sein Lwin


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