No green light yet for Yangon’s water bus operations

The water bus system was to service the routes along the Hlaing River, the Nga Moe Yeik Creek and the river near Thanlyin Township, according Ko Tun Nai Lin of the Tint Tint Myanmar company which won the tender to operate the system.

“At present, we already constructed the jetties. But we are waiting for the official permit and we can’t start yet. We can’t say exactly when we will start operations,” said Ko Tun Naing Lin.

Ko Tun Naing did not say why the Yangon government has not yet given the permit to operate the water taxi system.

The estimated cost for project was between US$20 million (K27.26 billion) to $37 million and the firm will not use public fund or consider a joint venture, Ko Tun Naing Lin said, adding the company aims to run everything with its own budget and will take a project loan from KBZ Bank.

The first phase will run from Insein to Botahtaung Township. Initially, the government hoped the system can rely on small boats as water taxis, he said.

The three routes will need a total of about 50-70 ships and boats, which the company has imported from Sydney and Thailand.

However, the company started dubbing the project as the “Yangon Water Bus” because ships, as well as boats, will be carrying passengers. Boats like a Catamaran, which can carry 180-200 passengers, will be used, Ko Tun Naing Lin said.

Daw Tint Tint Lwin, CEO of Tint Tint Myanmar Company, told a press briefing in May that the water taxi ticket fares will cost between K300 to K500.

But during the initial phase of the operations, the pay card system will be used for the riders’ convenience.
“We will have our own platform through mobile phone. But at present, we will use any pay card system and No 37 YBS bus line is using this card system,” Ko Tun Naing Lin said.

The tender was called on May 2016 for water taxi system to reduce the traffic congestion. The company hopes to start operating in all three routes within 2017.

Source: Myanmar Times

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