Oct 1, 2008 (DVB)–Authorities in Rangoon’s Dala township have revoked the licences of private bus drivers whom they accuse of suspending their services to mark Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday on 19 June.
The move has affected main and back-up drivers of air-conditioned buses on the Twante-Rangoon route.
Relatives of the drivers told DVB that they had only decided to suspend their services temporarily because the poor conditions of the roads meant that they could not make any profit from the 200-kyat bus fare per passenger.
But authorities became suspicious because the day they suspended the Rangoon-Twante service coincided with the birthday of detained pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
The service was eventually resumed after three months due to popular demand.
But the drivers' licences have still not been returned to them, making it difficult for them to earn a living.
"Their driving licences have been confiscated completely. They are not allowed to make a living from it," a relative said.
The bus fare was recently raised to 300 kyat due to the poor condition of the roads but there were no complaints from passengers, who understood the difficulties for drivers.
"The road to Twante is full of potholes and the journey is arduous,” the relative said.
“When Twante market caught fire recently, fire engines had to come from Rangoon but by the time they got here the market had burnt down completely."
There are around 30 private buses operating on the Rangoon-Twante route.
Reporting by Nam Kham Kaew