18 September 2020
The Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) in cooperation with YBS bus line companies are supervising the passengers, disallowing them to take the buses if they fail to wear masks, in order to help prevent them from the risk of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on the buses.
After the horrible rise of virus infections in the country, there were 1,018,045 passengers taking the buses early September, but today on the 15th of September there were only 500,000 passengers taking the buses, the number has decreased by about half.
U Hla Aung, Joint Secretary of Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA), said, “The YBS lines are now trying to run the necessary processes for the passengers to be able to take the buses safely and comfortably along with the health guidelines amid Covid-19. There are only 500,000 passengers now using the buses and last Sunday more than 400,000 passengers were taking the buses. We are running with 2,500 to 3,000 buses at the moment. As the passenger rate is high in the morning and evening but low in the afternoon, we had surveyed the rates and considered the current situations by discussions with related bus companies and other private companies for enabling the buses to be able to run. On the other hand, we are supervising the passengers who don’t wear masks when taking the buses not to allow taking the buses. Moreover, our bus drivers are requested to wear the masks and face shields when taking the buses, in this way we are scaling up the preventive measures against the viurs”.
Furthermore, the reasons of why the rate of passenger has dramatically decreased are due to a reduction of the staff numbers in the governmental offices and the work-from-home plan of other companies. Moreover, most of the businesses were now suspended amid the resurgence period. Although the number of passengers has relatively decreased, the YRTA and public bus line companies are working together for enabling the passengers not to face with any difficulty in the travel under the guidance of Yangon regional government.
U Thet Tin Win, Managing Director of Power Eleven Public Co., Ltd, said, said, “At present, the percentage of bus runs is quite dropping. Most of them have been stopped. The main reason is that they do not cover the running cost as they do not get maximal number of passengers. The cars have to stop because they do not get the operation expenses for CNG and fuels. But the essential staffs who have to go to the office could face some difficulties. For the buses, when they do not get the expenses for CGN, then they have to stop running. During the earlier period of COVID-19, they had to run at a loss, but since then it could cover CNG cost and the driver wages, but they lost repair cost. But now it cannot cover even the expenses for CNG. So, most of the cars have to stop.”
Before the COVID-19 period, YBS buses used to transport average of 500-550 persons but they do not even get 100 persons now. So, other bus lines have to reduce the number of buses and are trying to provide full runs. On the other hands they are also trying to prevent the spread of virus.
Ko Aung Zaw Oo, YBS driver, said, “We do not get many passengers these days and we, drivers, are in trouble at present. Everyone is afraid of COVID-19 and they do not go out. So, we are not really fine. For enabling the public to see convenience in their travel, one bus has to run four runs a day. Some bus lines reduce the number of buses and each bus has to run three round trips. Currently, the living of our families is not really well. We just want to solve the transportation problems. We are doing like so because our living sees difficulty.”
In Yangon, there were more than 1.8 million passengers. The number had to drop at the end of March when the first case of Covid-19 was found, but in June the number was back to increase with the number of buses accounting for more than 80 %. However, the infection cases of COVID grew back at the end of August and the number of passengers dropped by more than half and the buses were the same matter. For the time being, there are only 2,500 running buses from 125 bus lines in Yangon.
Thaw Tar Swe Zin and Zwe Mahn