Myanmar to Regulate Ride-Hailing Mobile Services

Myanmar, ride-hailing services, taxis, transportation

The inaugural of Uber services earlier this year in Yangon

According to local newspaper the Myanmar Times, the government will issue new rules to regulate the taxi industry in Myanmar, said Daw Nilar Kyaw, Minister of Electricity, Industry, Transport and Transportation.

There are now four taxi service operators in Yangon: Uber, which was founded in the US, Grab from Singapore, and local operators Hello Cab, and Oway Ride. Unlike traditional taxi operators though, these companies use ride-hailing technologies and mobile applications to enable passengers and drivers to connect.

‘’Using technology-based mobile applications in the taxi industry is safer and more reliable for passengers,” said Daw Nilar Kyaw during a Yangon Parliament session on Tuesday.

However, to ensure fair competition between the 4 operators in this space, the government will work with the Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) to set new rules to regulate the sector. Uber and Grab first entered Yangon early this year, after Hello Cab and Oway Ride had already been offering their services in the market.

While the 4 operators use similar ride-hailing technologies to offer their services, each uses a different pricing mechanism to charge for rides. More recently, the operators have been offering a slew of fare promotions to lure passengers and compete. As such, fares under each operator may differ substantially.

“The operators are competing to offer the lowest fares to customers. But this could lead to the collapse of the local taxi service. So, the sector must be regulated to ensure a level playing field,” Daw Nilar Kyaw said.

The government must also set rules to ensure quality service for passengers. “Otherwise, the bigger companies can easily push smaller operators out of business,” said MP U Nay Bone Latt from Thingankyun Township.

The MP urged the Yangon Regional Government to set new rules to regulate taxies using technology and mobile applications to operate. For U Kyaw Min Swe , head of Oway Ride, the new regulations could set the stage for a bigger and more competitive market in the years ahead. “I would like the government to set rules and policy for all taxi operators.  We need a lot of help from the government on this front as a well-regulated industry will attract new players and encourage fair competition. Nobody wants to do business without regulations,” he said.

(Source: The Myanmar Times)