It is obvious that, in comparison with other regional countries, the overall political and living conditions of the Burmese people were explicitly left behind for over 60 years due to the rule of the military-backed dictatorship. Since the country’s 2010 transition to democracy, the desire and passion of the citizens to develop and catch up to international trends has only grown, reaching a peak around time of the NLD’s election triumph in 2015. The Yangon School of Political Science (YSPS) conducted a public opinion poll on the recently established Yangon Bus System and came up with the optimism of its users and willingness to contributing to proceeding further reform measures such as national development and cities development by the users and the people.
Quotes from the Paper
The strong will of the people to achieve higher national development and make progress in raising the country’s socioeconomic status was observed in the case of the reform of the Public Transportation System initiated by the Yangon Regional government in early 2016. People were largely dissatisfied with the performance of the old system (Ma Hta Tha), and their desperation for something better allowed them to be swept away by the spreading news of the impending Yangon Bus System at that time.
However, since its introduction, the newly established (YBS) system has revealed some of innate structural weaknesses, especially in terms of the bus schedules and route maps. In spite of that, people were quite willing to endure these initial hardships as they remembered the struggles of the previous system held out hope that the reform had the potential to improve the situation.
Yangon School of Political Science did a survey on the opinions of commuters who ride Yangon Buses. The survey was conducted to the best of our capacity, although financial and human resource limitations, as well as the limited availability of respondents, may have impacted the results. Surveyors visited crowded places, public squares and bus stops in Yangon and asked commuters who were willing to answer and had enough time to respond to the survey questions. A total of fifteen survey questions were answered by five hundred respondents. Yangon School of Political Science employed some questions from public transportation research in other countries and developed others tailored to the Yangon Bus System to create the questionnaire. In addition, YSPS interviewed MPs from Yangon Regional Parliament, some directors from bus line companies, and some representatives from public transportation groups in order to collect additional opinions from a variety of perspectives on the changes to the public bus system. However, YSPS was unable to observe the implementation of instructions by the Yangon Regional government and policy making sessions because of limited access to information and a lack of transparency. This lack of access was unfortunate as we consider these observations necessary to gain a truly insightful understanding of the changes to the Yangon Bus System. As a result, YSPS chose to focus on the improvements to the public bus system and examine public opinion regarding these changes.
Recommendations on YBS System
YRTA should copy the reform of Seoul Bus System and Tai Chun Bus System. Before the Seoul Bus Reform, the mayor of it studied the problems and conducted a public policy research. After two years, his research report was publicized and the new system was based on its findings and got lessons learned. And also Taichun government allowed all the stake holders of Taichun Bus transportation to participate in the discussions for the reform. So their reforms were successful in a very short time and all stake holders followed the reform schemes.
Another lesson from their reform is that the Seoul government gave incentive to bus owners and drivers for their better services. So YRTA should create some incentives to bus owners for investing in public companies like reducing their income tax and bus drivers for better service like giving bonus. The government should anticipate how private owned buses ought to be replaced and improved for better bus services. Improvement of bus services could hurt the owners of low quality buses as their business shall be stopped. The government should consider how to compensate them.
The Yangon School of Political Science(YSPS) is an academic institution which will be delivering knowledge to transform Burma into Free, Just and Tolerant society with informed, liberated and empowered citizenry. YSPS is a leading front in liberal philosophical movement and research, as part of the global movement towards the same end.