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Yangon traffic jams set to get worse


With the arrival of the rainy season, Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, has become more muggy and humid. This is a huge challenge for Yangon’s transportation systems. As a city with 5 million people, the traffic conditions in Yangon are very similar to other major cities around the world: crowded and congested.

Every morning, you can see people from all walks of life gathering on the streets: businessmen purchasing goods, students carrying bags, young monks wearing red robes, Muslims wearing white Taqiyah, and of course, pigeons at every corner.

In Yangon, the most common forms of transport for citizens are buses. The price of bus tickets is very low, only a few hundred kyats. It’s very interesting that the ticket sellers often crane out of the bus door and yell the names of destinations. However, due to severe traffic congestion, most of the buses travel very slowly during rush hours.

Yangon was once a "smooth" city. Due to the high import duties on cars, ordinary people here didn’t expect to have a car, so the number of cars on the road was very limited. But in 2011, the Myanmar government gradually relaxed the restrictions on imported cars, and began to implement a trade-in policy, the new trouble appeared along with it.

There is no denying that the traffic jams in Yangon are largely attributable to imperfect traffic rules. Street vendors and random parking make the streets more crowded. The lack of zebra crossings means that pedestrians aimlessly cross the street anywhere. In urban areas, only a small number of main roads have traffic guardrails, when traffic jams happen, hawkers often walk through vehicle streams to sell drinks and newspapers.

However, at the same time, the time spent in the traffic jams can bring people closer. When pedestrians cross the road many vehicles wait for them. On the roadside, you can see a variety of snack stands, and you can also buy some of life’s necessities. Different flavours, different groups of people all mix together adding to making Yangon more diverse and inclusive.

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