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Paris mayor, PM talk transport

Prime Minister Hun Sen met with Paris Mayor Bertrand Delano yesterday to discuss matters of urban planning as Cambodia prepared to recommend two more cities for inclusion in the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF) – a French organisation that offers urban development advice and assistance.

According to Hun Sen spokesman Eang Sophalleth, the premier acknowledged the growing pains Phnom Penh has experienced as it has expanded in recent years, while Bertrand encouraged Phnom Penh to adopt modern modes of public transportation, such as buses, trams and free bike-sharing programs to reduce congestion and reliance on personal vehicles.

Paris has a long history of advising Phnom Penh on its modern-era infrastructure, dating back to 1990, said Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Long Dimanche.

“Paris helped us to set up the master plan for city development, to study public transportation and flyovers, etc,” he said. “We have kept the study documents from Paris and we have followed them.”

In September 2012, the city granted licenses to Global (Cambodia) Trade Development and City Trans Cambodia to operate public bus lines in Phnom Penh, lines that Dimanche said were progressing apace, and would open this year.

The plan would be the first successful effort at mass transit, with the Japan International Cooperation Agency scrapping its own attempt at setting up a public bus system in 2001.

The premier also announced that Kampong Cham and Battambang towns would be seeking membership in the AIMF.

Phnom Penh, Kampot and Siem Reap are also members.

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