Water taxi scheme details to be announced next week

The firm will announce the details of its implementation, said a spokesperson from Tint Tint Myanmar.

In order to upgrade Yangon’s public transport system, the regional government has planned to upgrade the circular train and water taxi services alongside bus transport, according to Yangon chief minister U Phyo Min Thein on July 2016.

The Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) started accepting tender applications on November 21 until December 26 last year. The month-long application period was intended to allow sufficient time for foreign and joint-venture companies to submit their applications. The invitation to tender was issued through a state-owned newspaper on November 16 and 17.

Tint Tint Myanmar won the tender in March and they are currently working on the specifics and details to implement a water transport scheme.

“All operational details will be done with the company’s budget, including the cost of construction of a jetty.

“This will not be related to the government’s budget,” said project manager U Htun Naing Lin from Tint Tint Myanmar.

According to U Maung Aung, secretary of the YRTA, the purpose of this water taxi system is for commuters to avoid the congested roads on their way to downtown Yangon. It is hoped that this scheme will save time and will start running in May.

The company has already bought ships from Australia, Thailand and Jordan.

“We can say all are ready to run but we are still testing – we are focusing on safety. We will announce plans within the next week on how many ships we will use, how many people the ships can carry, ticket pricing, whether we are charging cash or via a prepaid system, and other details.

“We are in discussions regarding the start date for our operations,” said U Htun Naing Lin.

The regional government has already set rules and regulations that the company must obey, he added.

Taking lessons from the YBS chaos and inconvenience, the government should be more cautious about the procedures and should test them before implementation. They should prioritise the safety of commuters, said MP U Kyaw Zay Ya from Dagon township.

The idea of introducing water taxis to relieve Yangon city congestion was floated by a regional MP last May. Some, at that time, saw the scheme as a far-fetched proposal to solve the traffic issue.

Daw Thida Maung, who made the suggestion, said the Nga Moe Yeik River that flows though many townships could help alleviate the daily gridlock.

“If water taxis would be a service that runs on time and looks nicely decorated, people will be interested in taking them. Now, 21 percent of commuters in Yangon use buses. This number will then be reduced,” she said.

Source: MM Times

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