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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Three-wheeled motos latest addition to taxi fleet

Three-wheeled motos latest addition to taxi fleet


The moto kang bey... smaller than a Bangkok tuk-tuk, owners say it's ideal

for Phnom Penh streets.


HNOM PENH taxi drivers seem to be moving from motorbikes to cars just one wheel

at a time.

The latest move in the capital's competitive transport sector is the three-wheeled

motorbike known as the moto kang bey (three wheeler). The Chinese-made trike is rapidly

gaining popularity with drivers and customers alike. It is smaller than a Bangkok

tuk-tuk but bigger than a conventional motorbike and owners say it is ideal for Phnom

Penh's pot-holed streets.

"It is good and safe on the broken streets. It won't be robbed like a moto-dup,"

says Nouv Aun, who has nothing but praise for his new vehicle.

Customers, too, are happy with the extra room and protection from the elements the

moto-kang bey provides.

"I can put in all my luggage and the price is as cheap as a moto-dup,"

says Hieng, a permanent client of another three-wheeled devotee - Hout Chheng

at Oreussey market.

Chheng is now known as "Ta Kang Bey " at O'reussey market. He bought the

three-wheeler a month ago after he stopped working as a moto-dup because he was afraid

he would be robbed.

"Before I was called Pou Moto-dup [uncle moto-taxi driver] now people call me

"Ta Kang Bey," "the grandfather of the three-wheeler," Chheng

says, chuckling.

He says he makes more money with the moto-kang bey than he did with a motorbike and

he is no longer worried about being robbed.

"Being a moto-dup driver is very dangerous. I thought I would be killed one

day if I kept in the moto-dup business," he says.

It was a robbery that prompted Nouv Aun to look at other forms of transport. He said

his moto was stolen last moth near Phnom Penh police station.

"I was so lucky they did not kill me," he recalled.

Aun went to the shop at Psah Deum Dkao looking for the new transportation - the


After bargaining the price, Aun decided to buy a moto-kang bey to continue his career.

It cost $700, plus $20 extra for adding a roof to the passenger area.

Lay Try, 50, who runs the moto-kang bey shop at Psah Deum Dkao said the three-wheel

motor-truck cost about the same as a motorbike and sales were brisk. The engine and

chassis are imported from China.

He said one of the reasons for the popularity was that the three wheeler could carry

six people in comparative comfort for the same price as a moto-dup.

"Every day people come and buy kang bey from my shop. The buyers say they will

be not robbed with kang bey," Try says.

But not everybody is pleased with the development. Peng Sokun, Deputy Director of

the Public Works and Transport Department of Phnom Penh municipality argues that

the kang bey will cause more congestion in the city.

He suggested the moto kang bey should be restricted to the outskirts of the city,

replacing motor-trailers (remorques) which should be confined to rural areas.

He said he was also concerned the kang bey would drive cyclos out of business.

He said the cyclos were a convenient, no-pollution option for transport and provided

much needed income to farmers during the dry season.



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