New Delhi — In a strange move, Burma's Roadway Transport Supervision Committee has legally announced the rise of fares for express buses that are plying from Rangoon to other divisions and states.
The announcement made on July 26, officially recognize the need to raise the fares for express buses plying to various towns and cities in other parts of the country due to the increase in fuel prices - diesel and petrol.
An official at the Supervision Committee in Rangoon told mizzima that the fare are hiked from what was earlier Kyat 24 per mile to Kyat 28, after a group of private transport companies had appealed to the committee.
"We raised the fares after bus operators submitted a request letter to raise fares as they are paying a higher price for diesel," the official said.
A private transport company in Rangoon told Mizzima that currently the fares for a Rangoon-Mandalay air-conditioned bus cost Kyat 12,000 (approximately US$ 10) while the fare for a Rangoon-Monywa air-conditioned bus is at Kyat 14,500 (approximately US$ 12) .
The fare for Rangoon-Sagaing is at Kyat 12,400 (approximately US$ 10.50), Rangoon-Lashio at Kyat 16,900 (approximately US$ 14), and Rangoon-Naypyidaw, Burma's new jungle capital, is at Kyat 6,900 (approximately US$ 5.8) for air-conditioned bus and Kyat 5,700 (approximately US$ 4.8) for ordinary buses.
An official at the Rangoon-Mandalay bus terminal told Mizzima that they are forced to raise the bus fares as they now pay about Kyat 7,000 (approximately US$ 5.9) per gallon of diesel from what use to be Kyat 4,500.
He added that for every trip to Mandalay, they have to purchase at least a barrel of diesel (approximately 50 gallons), with the rate of Kyat 7,000.
"For each trip we have to fill one barrel of diesel at the market price from the black market," the official added.
The announcement by the Roadway Transport Supervision Committee came after it had discovered that private bus companies have raised the fares without waiting for the committee's approval, the official at the committee told Mizzima.
The official added that it has to suspend the operation of seven transport companies including 'New Mandala Tun' as a punishment for illegally raising the fares without the approval of the committee.
The announcement of the new fares by the Committee was made a few days after the suspension of the operation of the seven transport companies.
But the official said, the seven bus operators will again be allowed to ply from August 1, as a concession.
But a local resident in Rangoon, who frequently traveled to various parts of the country, said the bus fares have actually been raised since a long time, and the committee made the announcement as they no longer can control the bus fares due to the rise in fuel prices.
"We had to pay Kyat 13,000 for a Rangoon-Mandalay bus trip though the official price was Kyat 10,000. So the current bus fare hike makes no difference to us," the local resident said.