Uber and Licensed Cabs to Replace Yangon Taxi Turmoil


Now that the new Yangon Bus Service is underway, the regional government is turning its attention to the city’s taxis, and is hoping to have a system of licensed cabs to run side-by-side with Uber drivers, according to chief minister U Phyo Min Thein.

The Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) has already started a survey in order to get an idea of just how many taxis are on Yangon’s roads. Once that is done, the YRTA plans to strictly limit their number, he said.

The authorities estimate there are over 50,000 taxis in Yangon, which play a large role in the frequent traffic jams.

“We have plan to upgrade and control the taxi system, which is now operating without a system of licences,” said U Phyo Min Thein. The YRTA will regulate the licensed taxis through a central control centre that will take requests from passengers.

In the past the Road Transport Administration Department regulated who was allowed to operate a taxi, with special number plates for cars allowed to be used as taxis. But these days many people have turned their cars into taxis with little or no intervention from the authorities.

The chief minister also wants to see the Uber app come to Yangon – a city where the lack of an established taxi association makes Uber’s ride hailing service particularly suitable, he said.

“We’ve already met with Uber’s Southeast Asia division,” he said. “In some countries there has been controversy between taxi associations and Uber, but in Yangon there is no taxi association and it is a good stage at which to start an Uber system easily.”

Uber uses a smart-phone app to connect passengers with drivers that have been vetted by the firm, and the service has become phenomenally popular worldwide. But its spread has also spark controversy.

Cities with well-established licensed taxi systems like London and New York have seen protests against Uber’s entry into the local market. The firm has also faced opposition from regulatory authorities in a variety of countries, often because Uber involves drivers providing private transport services without a specific licence.

U Phyo Min Thein, however, thinks allowing passengers to call taxis from their own home would be more convenient, and that the disorganised state of the cities current system presents an opportunity as well as a problem.

Uber could also offer a solution for those drivers that have turned their cars into unofficial taxis, and who U Phyo Min Thein said may no longer be allowed to operate unlicensed.

‘’Some owners made their personal cars into taxis,” he said. “We will implement the new system fairly, and if needed we will stop people from using their cars as taxis, they will only be for personal use.”


Source: The Myanmar Times


To learn  more about the challenge the Uber and Grab will face in the Myanmar market go to https://consult-myanmar.com/2017/08/14/the-road-to-taxi-reform-can-ride-hailing-apps-help-fix-the-market/

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