The government will install a new vehicle licensing system under which a new domestic operator license will be issued to firms or individuals who own and operate vehicles for commercial purposes.
The new system, which will take effect in January 2019, differs from the current practice of issuing a license per vehicle, said U Soe Min, head of the Yangon Region Operator License, Transport Coordination and Supervisory Division Department, which falls under the remit of the Ministry of Road Transport Administration.
The new system is expected to streamline and improve the existing transportation system in Yangon. “Under the new system, vehicle owners will have to show that they are in compliance with the rules and regulations set by the department. These owners may own or operate one or 100 vehicles, but they will have to comply before they are granted a license to operate their vehicles,” said U Soe Min.
Express bus operators and other vehicles used for tourism will be required to apply for the domestic operator license.
“We will issue licenses for individuals, companies and associations. This means the license holder will be held responsible for every vehicle it owns, whether it is one vehicle or a fleet of 100 vehicles. They will also be expected to renew their licenses every year. We will be monitoring each operator’s performance and will decide on a yearly basis whether to reissue the licenses or not,” said U Soe Min.
Currently, the government issues a license for each commercial vehicle on the road, which has resulted in confusion in the past. This is because many vehicles are leased out on hire purchase arrangements or have exchanged hands multiple times, making it difficult to trace the owners.
Drivers face the most problems at the border. ‘’We received questions from other countries about who is responsible for the vehicles,” said U Sein Win Hlaing, deputy director of Operator License, Transport Coordination and Supervisory Division Department in Nay Pyi Taw.
From January onwards, to qualify for a permit to drive across Myanmar’s borders, the owner must first have a domestic operator license.
“In addition, after we implement the new system, all commercial vehicles will be expected to use a red license plate. However, individuals running their own businesses will be issued with black license plates. Such vehicle owners will be expected to declare the goods being transported and will not be permitted to carry goods other than those declared,” said U Soe Min.
The new domestic operator license will be available to qualified Myanmar citizens. Foreigners are not eligible for the license. “This means taxi operators like Grab will not be allowed to apply for the license. Grab runs their business using their mobile application, which connects passengers and drivers who already have existing licenses. We will not be issuing the domestic operator license to them when the new system takes effect,” said U Soe Min.