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September 21, 2019

Efforts in dealing with Yangon traffic congestion challenge

By Phu Pyae

Yangon is the major economic city of Myanmar and it is also the highest population and vehicles densities across the country. YBS passenger buses running under the control of Yangon Region Transport Authority plays a crucial role in public transport sector. Most of the Yangonites have to rely much on these buses traveling one place to another in the inner city. Old buses used for many years have been substituted with new modern ones. YBS substitution plan ensured a better support for the smooth and secure travel of the Yangonites. For this reason, the Yangonites managed to continue their travel destination smoothly and securely as the new buses substituted in the place of old ones brought about comfortable and pleasant feelings to the commuters.
On the other hand, traffic congestions are taking place everywhere in the inner city from time to time. The frequent occurrences of traffic congestion resulted from careless drivers, those not crossing zebra crossing systematically and undisciplined roadside hawkers. The traffic congestion is still occurring in all parts of Yangon. Businessmen are running motorcycle shops on the major roads of Yangon city targeting at the populous places. It is one of the reasons why the traffic congestions are occurring. Only two vehicles can drive on the road where about three vehicles can drive in parallel because more motorcycles sold by the businessmen run there.

Pilot measures
With the intention of tackling with traffic congestion, Yangon Region Government in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) conducted researches on the major places of traffic congestion in Yangon. Pilot projects were launched in the key places of traffic congestion in Yangon. Before the starting date of the project, bus stands were distinguished according to various bus routes, line markings for stops were drawn according to different bus routes and billboards were installed.

Project implementation plan
The initial project of upgrading public transport bus service was implemented on Maha Bandoola Street in front of Yangon City Hall during October in 2018. The second project was carried out at Sule bus stop near Yangon City Hall during January in 2019. The third project was undertaken at Gaba Aye Pagoda bus stop on Gaba Aye Pagoda Road on February 13 and the fourth one was started at the bus stop of Thingangyun Sanpya Market.

Directions given to Yangon commuters
According to these projects intended the vehicles to run smoothly and securely in the inner Yangon city and the commuters to travel from one place to another safely, the travelling people can wait and take YBS buses they want at the designated places. The travelling people must use overpasses and zebra crossings when crossing the roads. The passengers can get on and get off only at the bus stops. Inside these areas, the vehicles except passenger buses are restricted to park. Yangon Bus System is being implemented by Yangon City Development Committee, Yangon Region Transport Authority, Traffic Police Force, the JICA and the groups of responsible supervisors of respective bus lines. They are also give directions to the travelling people in Yangon.

YBS buses have no access to bus stop area
Such measures are not enough for Yangon City to deal with its heavy traffic congestion. This is because the authority of the committees and the groups above mentioned is within limitations. For that reason, the staff of Township Development Affairs Department in partnership with those of Township General Administration Department should work together in the implementation of Yangon Bus System in addition to ward administrators and 100-house administrators from the respective townships. Home-use cars and taxies have been seen to have parked at the areas of the bus stops that were initially designated and thus YBS buses do not have the areas to stop.

Cooperation with governmental departments and town-elders
The drivers of YBS buses sometimes take competitive drive and therefore two buses or three ones stood double-parked or triple-parked in the Sule designated place. Constant traffic congestions occur near Hledan roundabout on Insein Road due to mobile shopping cars, undisciplined parking and street hawkers. Departmental officials and town-elders should joint hands in a bid to cope with the problem of traffic congestions.

Ways and means capable of reducing traffic congestions
To sum up, constructing high-class car parking buildings, dealing with undisciplined car parking, removing mobile shopping cars and prohibiting the hawkers from selling things on the street and platforms are the ways and means that are capable of reducing traffic congestions.
Translated by Htut Htut  (Twantay)

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