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City Hall to shepherd public bus operation

City Hall has taken over the recently launched public bus route in Phnom Penh pending a review of the Chinese-owned firm that is contracted to run the fledgling service, a company official said yesterday.

Lim Andre, Global (Cambodia) Trade Development’s manager in Phnom Penh, said yesterday that City Hall had officially suspended the firm’s operations on Saturday and taken over running the buses.

“Now, the company is faced with some technical problems that require improvement, while our company is studying a bigger service plan as a next step in order to meet the demands of people in the capital,” he said, without elaborating.

“The buses are still running, but City Hall is in charge for the next month.”

Phnom Penh municipality spokesman Long Dimanche said the service – which runs along Monivong Boulevard – had been suspended while the authorities decide whether to increase the number of routes and open the market for more companies to bid.

He added that “technical problems” had contributed to the bus service’s suspension.

“Phnom Penh Municipal Hall delayed the bus launching process of Global (Cambodia) Trade Development for a while after some technical problems,” said Dimanche, who also declined to explain the problems.

Chinese-run Global Trade Development (GTD) won the contract to run the capital’s new public bus service last month amid corruption claims.

“Public buses do not only give comfort to people, but they also help to reduce negative impacts on the environment [and] traffic accidents … this service will help government to reduce poverty,” Andre said.

City residents, meanwhile, have written to GTD and City Hall, calling for the company to expand its service to include another major bus route from Takhmao district in Kandal province to the city centre to ease their daily commutes.

Chan Thear, 55, a fruit and vegetable vendor at Demkor Market, wrote to GTD on behalf of “hundreds” of commuters who would like to see the route in operation, she said.

“Some days, we get hardly any money from selling, and it is not enough for the transportation costs,” she said.



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