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A woman waits for a city bus at a stop on Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh last month
A woman waits for a city bus at a stop on Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh last month. Pha Lina

City Hall seeks bus authority

Phnom Penh Municipal Hall has requested guidelines on setting up a public-private partnership that would take over city buses, control of which was stripped from the previous contract holder due to unspecified “technical problems”, it said yesterday.

Municipality spokesman Long Dimanche said the city was awaiting approval from the government to set up an “autonomous authority” for public transportation, in which the government would hold most of the power along with a minority private partner.

“We have asked the government in the last five months, and we are waiting for the decision,” he said. “If allowed, the authority would work with a private partner, and the [transit] authority would have a 51 [per cent] share and the private partner gets the rest.”

City Hall is considering the qualifications of three companies, he continued, adding that the city would eventually require an additional 40 buses to cover more planned routes. Dimanche declined to offer specifics, saying the city was “studying the expansion step by step”.

In March, Chinese-owned firm Global (Cambodia) Trade Development was awarded the contract to run the city’s bus service along Monivong Boulevard. The firm had pledged to expand services to several other major roads, but in April, during its one-month probationary period, City Hall suspended the contract and has operated the Monivong route since.

According to figures released in March, 10 buses carry some 1,500 passengers along that route every day, with each paying 1,500 riel for a ticket.

Chio Dae Yong, director of Trans Choice, a South Korean firm which operates a Phnom Penh taxi service, said his company was among those that had submitted a bid for the public transport contract since it was taken from Global.

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