Return of shared taxi service to heat up Yangon market

The Yangon Regional Government is planning to allow the return of shared taxi services between the outskirts and Sule Pagoda in downtown Yangon, said Daw Nilar Kyaw, Minister of Electricity, Industry, Transport and Communication.

The move comes amid rising demand and is likely to introduce more competition in the Yangon taxi market.

It is also not the first time shared taxi services are introduced in Yangon. In the past, most commuters relied on shared taxi services provided by owners of vehicles like Townace vans, which can transport up to 13 passengers.

However, after the Yangon Bus Service was introduced in January, the Yangon Region Transport Authority had put a stop to shared taxi services, which greatly inconvenienced commuters.

“These shared taxi services are convenient for Sule-bound commuters from the outskirts of Yangon like Aung Mingalar, North Okkalapa and North Dagon. The shared taxi fare is only K1,000 per person. And from Yuzana Garden City to Sule, where most lower income people live, the fare is only K500,” said U Than Naing Oo, MP from Panbedan township, at the Yangon Parliament.

In fact, some owners are still providing shared taxi services unofficially to cater to demand. According to commuters, shared taxis are an affordable, convenient and comfortable option to commute without the inconvenience of stopping at every bus stop or getting caught in traffic jams, given that the taxis can run on more flexible schedules.

‘’The shared taxis which are running from North Okkalapa to Sule Pagoda are still running but they are not official. We still need these taxis not only during office hours but also late at night. Some bus lines do not run late at night and we must rely on these shared taxis to get home. So, we need this service regularly,” said Ko Yan Naing from North Okkalapa township.

Daw Nilar Kyaw revealed the shared taxi services were cancelled as those businesses had failed to comply with existing regulations. The Myanmar Times understands that on one hand, the businesses were registered as taxis but are in fact more like buses, given that they transport up to 13 people on each trip.

‘’But now we are drawing up rules and regulations for these shared taxis to operate again. They will be made official very soon,” she said.

If approved, the shared taxi service will add more competition to the taxi market after international ride-hailing service companies Grab and Uber, which aim to provide affordable and secure taxi services to commuters, entered the country earlier this year.

Now, the Myanmar government is also drawing up regulations to govern and ensure a level playing field for all operators in that space, including local ride-hailing apps like Oway Ride and Hello Cab.

In total, there are over 67,000 taxis operating in Yangon. Most of the taxis are owned by individuals and only a few are run by companies.

Source : Myanmar Times

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