Yangon Water Bus launched to the delight of commuters

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Photo courtesty of Tint Tint Myanmar

The Yangon Water Bus system was opened to the public on 6 October and began operating on 8 October amid a large number of interested citizens.

At the opening ceremony of the YWB, Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein said the water bus system will slightly decrease the congested traffic in Yangon by providing an alternate means of public transportation. The YWB project was led by the Government and handled by Tint Tint Myanmar Company.

Daw Tint Tint Lwin, the CEO of Tint Tint Myanmar Company, said the water bus system has a control center, set up with technology from Hungary, to address issues caused by people, machine malfunctions or the weather. She said the captains of the water bus were all required to have license of at least 10 years of experience with water vessels. The YWB will also issue prepaid cards linked with Anypay card system that can be loaded with a minimum of Ks500.

Thiha Htun rode a route from Insein to downtown Yangon on the new YWB system and commented on the water bus. “The water bus are good for people living near the coastal area and it doesn’t interfere with the people working in the river.

Video:Courtesy of Tint Tint Myanmar

The YBS has to deal with traffic jams and you need to switch buses to get to most destinations.

The water bus doesn’t has those problems and if in the future they put more bus stops and increase the number of vessels then I think it will become more convenient,” he said.

The current operating bus route starts at Insein port, travels through Shwe Padauk port in Hline, The night market port in Kyimyindine, Lan Thit Port near the Mawtin overpass in Latha, Nan Thida Port in Pansodan and finally arrive at
Botahtaung Port.

Ko Htun Naing Lin, the project manager of Tint Tint Myanmar Company, said they are careful of overloading on the water buses. “The passengers have to get off the buses at the end of the journey regardless of which bus stop they had got on from. We will not accept even one person over the passenger limit since this form of transport is conducted on water and not on land so we will not overload the water buses. There is also a plan to set up a bus stop near Pun Hlaing estate as well,” said Ko Htun Naing Lin. He also said the Insein route will be expanded to Shwe Pyithar in the future.

Dr Maung Aung, the Secretary of the Yangon Region Transport Authority, said the Botahtaung-Insein route is the first of three planned routes and the other two will be from Nyaungdan to North Dagon and in Star City Thanlyin. The ticket price for the water bus is Ks300.

Tint Tint Myanmar won the tinder bidding. Two companies competed for the tender, however the other one was found having no experience. Tint Tint Myanmar had experience with water. So, Tint Tint Myanmar was selected. “A set of strict regulation had been imposed. We had emphasized on the regulation as it was a business in the water, hence more risks naturally.” said responsible person from the company.

“The disciplines set included no chewing betel quid, no smoking, sitting on the seat while driving, no standing allowed and people were requested to follow the discipline” said Ko Tun Naing Lin.

Currently five water vehicles are used and more will be added depending on the increasing number of users.

“Local people of grass root level got jobs as the wharf for water bus was built in Insein. There were a lot of commuters when water bus started. Most people in this area are hand to mouth workers and so they want to sell something at the wharf. However the place is of international standard and we don’t know what will happen. We have to watch the place all the time to make sure no body is invading the area and sell something. I like to suggest to allow the vendors, but in a systematic and disciplined way” commented an administrator of west strand ward Insein township.

“Previously I was working as sewer. But the income was not sufficient and started selling. It is not allowed for the time being and we are running here and there for selling foods. Water Bus system helps the people in commuting conveniently to their works. We wish a place just outside the wharf area are designated for us to sell.” said Daw Mya Mya Khin of that area. The schedule of the departure and arrival time are pasted on board for the commuters to know the schedule. “My family come and take ride the Water Bus as today is holiday. It is inconvenient to wait to get the seat as there are many people waiting. It is better to run more water bus to be able to accommodate the commuters. It takes one hour from Kyimyindine to Insein. The YBS buses are packed with passengers but water bus is convenient” explained U Nay Win Aung of Sanchaung.

Yangon Road Transport Authority (YRTA) take no charge from Tint Tint Myanmar Co. for the time being. It is learnt that the case will be coordinated later.

Dr Maung Aung said,”currently YRTA has not discussed about the income sharing as their investment is so huge and the fare Ks300 per person is also very cheap. The expanded service will depend on the increasing number of the passengers.”

Over 6 million people are living in Yangon Region and most people have to rely on Bus cars. Yangon water bus system under the arrangement of Yangon Region Government is hoped to be the convenient service for the passengers. —Zaw Gyi (Pannita)

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

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