THE training may be free, but the cost of taking the test for a soon-to-be-mandatory motorbike driver's licence is anything but.
Starting in 2012, police will be authorised to penalise motorbike drivers who don't have licences. And although the government has encouraged free-of-charge training, some drivers say they can't afford to take the costly tests.
Phear Dara said he took a free training course at NCX Company (Honda), a motorbike training school in the capital. But when he finished the course, the school demanded a fee of 15,000 riels plus US$10 for an application form, he said.
"We failed to take the test because we do not have the money," Phear Dara said Sunday.
His situation is not unique. A manager at the training school, who declined to be named, confirmed that the company conducts free training but
charges for licence tests because the state requires payment.
He said that "hundreds of trainees" have taken the free course but not sat for the test because "they did not have money to pay".
Keo Sarin, chief of overland transport at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said the fees were "cheap" compared to those in neighbouring Vietnam.
"Ten dollars can save drivers from accidents and provide them with legal knowledge," he said.