Taxi registration causes weeklong traffic nightmare

Taxis in Yangon.
Taxis in Yangon.

An office of the Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) in Thingangyun Township began accepting applications for taxi registration on November 15, sparking a week of severe traffic congestions in the area.

On the first day of registration, around 150 taxis lined up along on Laydaungkan Road – a narrow road that is already notoriously congested by cars visiting shops and restaurants and picking up children from two ILBC schools with inadequate driveways.

YRTA secretary Dr. Maung Aung commented on the traffic, saying parking space would be arranged for taxis waiting to register. However, commuters reported that the congestion had not fully abated a week after the registration process began.

“My office is in Tamwe Township, and I live near the YRTA office. There has been traffic congestion since the registrations began,” one commuter told Eleven. “These days, though, the traffic jams are not as severe as on the opening day.”

Another commuter said her bus commute to her office in Yankin Township has been taking longer than usual.

“It would be quicker if I took a taxi, but I can’t afford that, so I have to take the bus,” she said.

There are an estimated 60,000 registered taxis in Yangon Region, but thousands of private vehicles are operated as taxis without proper registration.

In January, Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein said his government was working to cull extraneous taxis in the city and limit the number of new taxis being registered in order to reduce traffic congestion. He said the introduction of the rideshare app Uber was part of this effort. However, when Uber officially launched in May, the company announced that only registered taxis would be able to offer rides using the app.

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