Security tightened on buses

Jan 22, 2008 (DVB), State transport authorities have brought in new security measures for buses in Rangoon and Magwe division, which drivers will have to enforce or face a fine.

As of 13 January, express bus lines have been told that passengers must show identity cards when they buy tickets and board the bus, and drivers should check the cards and record where each passenger is sitting on the bus.

The order was given by the government's All-Bus Lines Control Committee to bus companies in Rangoon and Taung Twin Gyi township, Magwe division.

A Taung Twin Gyi resident said that bus drivers would be fined if their passengers broke the new regulations.

"If checkpoint officials find the buses are carrying passenger without ID, if they find any suspicious items on board, or if the bus is carrying any unaccompanied packages, the driver will be fined 40,000 kyat," the resident said.

The restrictions have made things difficult for people living with HIV and AIDS, who have been having their medicines sent from Rangoon on these bus services, the resident said.

"Now their only choice is to go to Rangoon themselves, which will be a waste of time and money for them," he said.

A bus ticket from Taung Twin Gyi to Rangoon costs 6000 kyat each way.

The Asia Express bus company, which used to transport the medicines, refused to comment on this.

At Rangoon's Aung Mingalar bus terminal, where buses arrive from across Burma, officials are now checking for suspicious items every day instead of twice a week.

Members of the military, municipal police, local police, special police, Central Investigation Department and air force intelligence have been beginning their checks at 1am daily, along with officials from the Ministry of Transport, All-Bus Lines Control Committee and ward Peace and Development Council.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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