Suspensions meted out on two bus lines after fatal crashes

Line number 245 and the Lion bus line were both slammed with suspensions at the beginning of the month. The buses that were involved in the accidents were taken out of the loop altogether for six months, but to avoid grinding commutes to a standstill, the Yangon Region government is allowing the companies to each keep half their fleets going, staggering the penalty over five days.

“The Yangon hluttaw suspended No 245 bus and the Lion bus [the implicated buses] for six months starting from October 1. The rest of buses on those lines must stop for five days. So that all buses are not stopped simultaneously, they will have only half the fleet running for five days,” Yangon Region Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicles (Ma Hta Tha) chair U Hla Aung said at a meeting yesterday.

Both accidents occurred on July 30. According to Ma Ha Tha’s account, the No 245 bus, which runs from Dagon University to Sule Pagoda, was flagged down by traffic police near South Okkalapa township for a licence check. While pulling to the side, the bus driver careened into passengers disembarking from another bus. One commuter’s head was injured and he later died at the hospital.

The Lion bus, which runs from Hlaing Tharyar township to the National Management College in Bota-htaung township, had a problem with malfunctioning equipment around 9pm. The driver was reportedly not able to control the bus, and hit two pedestrians. A woman was instantly killed.

No 245 will now only have 15 operational buses out of around 30, while Lion will be allowed eight.

“If we will suspend all the buses, the passengers would be in trouble. So we suspended them in turn. We intend the discipline to show the drivers there are penalties for accidents,” said U Hla Aung.

Bus line owners yesterday were critical of the government’s method for meting out punishments to the companies, instead of laying whole responsibility on the erring drivers.

“We want the government to take action against the person who committed the accident. It should not be that many suffer because of one person. I don’t think it is a fair law,” said U Ko Ko Naing, owner of the No 31 bus line.

Traffic police could not be reached for comment yesterday about what penalties the drivers involved in the July 30 were given.

But a spokesperson from the Forever Green bus line suggested that the blanket punishment may disincentivise bad driving by group pressure.

“The drivers should know if they break the law the rest of their friends will be in trouble. If all drivers will accept this opinion, they can control their mind,” said U Hla Win from Forever Green bus line.

This time is second time Ma Hta Tha has issued a partial suspension of bus lines in response to accidents. In August, lines No 51 and No 57 were each partially halted.

Commuter Ma Aye Mya Kyi from North Dagon township said the suspension of No 245 has so far not affected her as there are other buses, or trains, to fill the gap for now.

Many commuters were left stranded or forced to take more expensive forms of transportation after wildcat strikes and picketing stuck the city bus system in September in response to increased traffic fines. The new minimum traffic fines was set at K30,000 – or 15 times higher than the former maximum penalty.

Source: Myanmar Times

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