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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Proposed rules for buses draw criticism

Proposed rules for buses draw criticism

An overloaded bus carries a pack of passengers during last year’s Water Festival. New regulations could affect traffic during the influx of people for next month’s festivities.

Company officials say sub-decree mandating two drivers per bus would be overly expensive.

A SUB-DECREE intended to improve road safety by regulating private bus and van companies has drawn the ire of some bus company officials, who say the sub-decree’s provisions would cost too much to implement.

Containing more than 60 articles pertaining to land traffic, the sub-decree, currently being drafted by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, would require that companies hire two drivers per bus, and that the drivers switch off every 150 kilometres to avoid fatigue-related accidents.

“At least 30 to 40 people are on a bus, and their lives depend on the drivers,” said Keo Savin, director of the Department of Land Transportation at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. “We need to control the bus drivers.”

Chan Sophanna, general manager of Phnom Penh Sorya Transportation, said he welcomed the effort to improve road safety but said the cost of two drivers would be too high.

He went on to defend bus drivers who had been involved in road accidents, blaming them on “careless pedestrians” who walked into traffic without looking. The drivers, he added, needed to flee the scene in many cases to avoid retribution at the hands of onlookers.

“It becomes a hit-and-run because the driver does not want to be beaten by the people who saw the accident,” he said.

Mai Vichet, marketing manager for the Red Dragon bus company, also said implementing the sub-decree would prove prohibitively expensive.
Keo Savin said he did not know when the drafting process would be completed.



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