The Myanmar Container Truck Association (MCTA) has reached an agreement with Yangon Region’s government about the hours that truckers can use Yangon’s major roads, after going on strike overnight, the association’s chair U Than Lwin said.
U Than Lwin said that a meeting between representatives of the association and Yangon’s Minister of Electricity, Industry, Transport and Communication Daw Nilar Kyaw and the Traffic Rules Enforcement Supervisory Committee agreed that container trucks would be allowed to travel between Hlaing Tharyar township and Shwe Pyi Thar township from 11am to 3pm. They will also be allowed to travel between 8pm and 6am, as agreed previously.
The container truck drivers went on strike late Wednesday, parking their vehicles along Strand Road, which caused a massive traffic jam that lasted until early Thursday.
The drivers demanded that they be allowed to use the streets 24 hours a day and called for the resignation of Daw Nilar Kyaw.
“Daw Nilar Kyaw said traffic jams are caused by container trucks. Actually, we drive our trucks only on one road most of the time, and we don’t race or break the law like some bus drivers do. We want permission to drive 24 hours a day,” said Ko Phoe Kyaw, one of the striking drivers.
The protesting truck drivers threw water bottles, rocks and sticks at other truck drivers who would not join them, damaging the windshields of their trucks.
According to some of the strikers, the strike was triggered by the impractical hours that the region wanted trucks to use the streets of Yangon.
A meeting on traffic rules at the office of the regional government on May 25 decided that container trucks from Bayint Naung Road and Pale would be permitted on the road after 11pm but not after 12:30am and container trucks from Strand Road and Home Road would be permitted after 1am but not after 2am. Drivers who violated the rules faced punishment.
The rule was eased a bit, permitting drivers to use the streets from 9pm to 6am.
Traffic enforcement officers have been arresting drivers of container trucks travelling outside the stipulated times, and protesting drivers said action had been taken against more than 120 drivers since the ban was imposed.
“If we leave at 9pm, according to the rules of the Yangon government, we will return at midnight or 1am. We have no time, because of unloading and loading,” said Ko Phoe Kyaw.