Chinese firm Global (Cambodia) Trade Development will launch several more city bus lines in Phnom Penh over the next 10 months, dramatically expanding what has so far been a successful experiment to introduce mass transit to the capital, the company and state media said yesterday.
Lin Andre, Global’s chief executive, said that a total of 118 new buses will be deployed to serve routes on the Street 271 ring road, Sisowath Quay, and Mao Tse Tung, Kampuchea Krom, Sothearos and Russian boulevards, among others.
“We do hope that we will be able to sign a contract with the City Hall before Khmer New Year,” Andre said. “Global’s public bus service does not easily make profits, but we do hope that within the next three or four years, there will more support from the passengers.”
Passenger numbers have held steady, Andre added, with some 1,400 to 1,600 people paying the 1,500-riel (about $0.37) ticket price to travel along Global’s current line on Monivong Boulevard every day.
The bus line began as a one-month public experiment by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) before being taken over by Global.
Masato Koto, who is in charge of a JICA project to develop Phnom Penh’s urban master plan, said yesterday that his organisation had advised the city’s Department of Public Works and Transportation (DWPT) on the criteria for viable routes, but said that final decisions were between City Hall and Global, who match the criteria to conditions on the ground.
“We need more time to deal with the [illegal] parking situation, and we will work on this with the DPWT,” he said. “It’s easy to say about the criteria, but [more difficult to] adapt to the actual road conditions.”
State-run media outlet Agence Kampuchea Presse on Monday quoted Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Pa Socheatvong as saying that the bus service is aimed at reducing traffic accidents and congestion, but City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche yesterday would not confirm the expansion.
“We are planning and it is an ongoing discussion to expand to more routes, but so far we cannot announce it yet,” said Dimanche.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STUART WHITE