Rail, bus travel around Yangon set for major upgrade

The Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) will soon run a circular bus services from Aung Mingalar Highway bus terminal as the Yangon government quietly boosts its water, power, road and traffic infrastructure around the city.

The agency said the move is aimed at further improving the connectivity within Yangon.

The new circular buses will ply Aung Mingalar Highway,Thudama Road, Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Parami Road. Than Thu Mar Road, Dental College, Thuwanna Junction, Upper Pazundaung Road, Botahtaung Pagoda Road, Strand Road, Thakhin Mya Park, Kyimyindine Kannar Road, Bayintnaung Road, Lower Mingalardon road, No.3 Junction, and back to Aung Mingalar Highway.

City Transit Co will operate the new city buses, according to the report by state newspaper the Global New Light of Myanmar.

The newspaper quoted Dr Maung Aung, secretary of the YRTA, saying, “The route of the circular buses will be similar to that of the Yangon City circular train. The buses will run around the city.”

“It is a new service for passengers who rely on bus services. The new city circular buses, numbering 39, will start from the Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Terminal. The YRTA will later announce detailed information on their operation, such as the starting date,” he said.

The bus fare will be K1000 for one complete round, and K500 for shorter distances. The new city bus service will start services with 39 buses. In addition, the authorities are planning to install a card payment system on YBS buses. The card payment system will be used not only on public transport buses, but also in other sectors.

“We have already been granted permission by the Myanmar Investment Commission to implement the card payment system. Currently, we are importing the required equipment for the system,” U Maung Aung said.

He added the card payment system will be installed on three YBS bus lines, which are running in six townships.

“The installation of the system on the buses will take about six months,” he said.

Power Eleven Company, YBS 21, will run the city buses, which will have a special floor for wheelchair users, according to the YRTA.

The circular buses will complement Yangon Circular Railway, which has been the main mode of transportation among the city folk.

Yangon Circular Railway, operated by the state-owned Myanma Railways is a 46-kilometre loop. Its first section went into operation in 1887 when the country was still a British colony, while the total circle was completed in 1954.

Due to neglect, the service can only run at an average 15 kilometres per hour, making the travel around the loop three hours to complete.

The Japan International Co-operation Agency is currently upgrading the circular railway by rehabilitating tracks and track beds, as well as installing new signalling equipment and automatic level crossings. The work is expected to be completed in 2023.

U Zaw Lwin, chief of the Myanma Railways traffic division, expressed confidence that once the upgrade is completed the average speed would increase to 26kmh, cutting down travel around the loop by one hour.


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