Electric bikes will be included in the Rangoon Division government’s ban on motorbikes, according to the regional Border and Security Affairs minister, Col. Tin Win.
In response to a formal question from Thingangyun Township MP U Kyaw, minister Tin Win confirmed that e-bikes will be targeted just as standard motorbikes are.
Motorbikes have been banned in Rangoon since 2003, though some have proposed lifting the ban to help relieve the severe traffic congestion the city has experienced over the last few years.
In the Rangoon regional parliament session on Monday, U Kyaw also questioned if the government aimed to completely forbid the use of motorbikes, or if special license plates would be issued to civil servants who use bikes for official duties.
Minister Tin Win said the government has seen encouraging statistics: “Government organisations are successively taking action on the illegal use of motorbikes. Previously, during a campaign period to educate the public, 865 warnings were issued. In 2014, a total of 3,270 bikes were seized as disciplinary measure.”
The Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) in February 2014 warned a crackdown on motorbikes being driven within the city limits in accordance with YCDC Article 72.
The officials said there are some municipal and electricity department staff were given special permission to travel on bikes, but other civil servants seen on bikes or e-bikes will face the same punishment as civilians.
“We will see effective action against e-bikes, the same way we restrict motorbikes,” he said. “There is no plan to issue special license plates for civil servants. We have some important municipal civil servants registered to use bikes, but like everyone else they will face action if they ride in the city.”
He added the municipality is planning to promote awareness of the bike ban via billboards and advertisements.
Despite these initiatives, transport in Rangoon remains a contentious issue. The population has risen in the last few years, and the city experiences regular traffic jams on badly maintained roads. There have been moves to improve Rangoon’s public transport network, such as new tram services operating in downtown area.