- By Zaw Min (GNLM)
YBS (Yangon Bus Service) City Transit that starts on 23 September 2019 with 20 brand new Scania buses was a step that had took its’ service to the next level. It was a new chapter of YBS which starts its operation on 16 January 2017 serving mass transit of the public and it was operated by the Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA). This was a small development for YBS both quantitatively as well as qualitatively.
Yangon Motor Vehicles Supervisory Committee more commonly known in Myanmar as Ma Hta Tha was the predecessor of YRTA and served the majority of city’s commuters daily. After some small-scale reforms of the bus network to improve the city’s bus network, a complete overhaul of the city’s entire network was made by changing Ma Hta Tha to YRTA as well as reducing the old network’s hundreds of lines to just 71 lines. In addition to this, modern brand new air-conditioned city buses were introduced.
The reduction of the old network’s hundreds of lines that were all going in a messy overlapping ways everywhere to a systematic combination of short haul routes that connect people within a district (several townships) and long haul routes that connect people from satellite towns to down town and major urban areas was a qualitative development received with a mix reaction by the public. As the changeover was to how every modern city’s bus systems were being operated all over the world, the positive reactions outweigh the negative reactions. The negative reaction was mainly due to the inconvenience faced whenever a new way of doing things was introduced.
The qualitative change over from outdated routes going in all direction to more systematic routes was made successfully with proper planning. But due to limited resources that include not only financial and technical resource but human resources which were the norm in most developing countries, much still need to be done for both qualitative and quantitative development of Yangon Bus Service. Lack of modern air conditioned city buses was the first reason for many old, outdated and inappropriate buses remaining in many routes.
In any modern cities of the world with modern city bus transport system, the city buses are owned by a single entity, a company, with bus drivers, conductors and support personnel all being employees employed by the company with set salary and wages with set duties and responsibilities. City buses in such system were properly driven caring for the convenience of commuters as well as other road users that include the pedestrians, other city buses and private vehicles.
Quantitative and qualitative change from many bus routes operated with most buses individually owned, drivers and conductors being employees of the individual bus owners to a single company owned bus line and route could not be made in the case of YBS due to shortage of modern air conditioned city buses as well as lack of entities or companies capable of taking up the work. With the old compensation or remuneration system of setting a portion of the city bus ticket sales of the individual city bus to the bus owner, driver and conductor, city buses of not only different routes but even on the same route were seen to be racing with one another to get the most commuters.
Introducing Fleet Management System to control, monitor and manage the city buses as well as changing over to Card Payment system instead of cash are some qualitative developments for YBS even if the old system of individually owned and operated city buses were still in use.
However, all need to be aware of the fact that a complete and a successful development of any system, including YBS involve both qualitative and quantitative developments. Only then can the system provide what it aims to provide safely and conveniently for all.