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Festival sees transport prices spike

Festival sees transport prices spike

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Cyclos, perhaps a cheaper form of transport during this year's Water Festival. 

Taxi fares to and from Phnom Penh have spiked 60 percent during this year's Water Festival as drivers take advantage of greater demand but also are forced to pay more in bribes to police.

Drivers say more visitors offer them a chance to increase profits, which they say is standard holiday practice.

"On a normal day, I charge only 7,500 to 8,000 riels (US$1.75 to $2.00), but during the festival I can get 15,000 riels  to 20,000 riels," said Touch Vary, a taxi driver who works between Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham province.

"I increased the fares because everyone else does and because I have to pay police at least 2,000 riels for each of my passengers," he added.

Lim Say, who shuttles passengers between Phnom Penh, Battambang and Poipet, said normal fares run from 20,000 riels from Battambang to Phnom Penh, to 30,000 riels between Phnom Penh and Poipet, but that he can charge an additional 10,000 riels during the Water Festival.

"I am happy during national holidays, especially Water Festival, because I can earn more profits due to an increase in travellers coming to Phnom Penh to celebrate," he said.

While taxi drivers applaud the opportunity to gouge travellers for higher fares, at least one transport firm is taking a more moderate approach.

Meas Rotana, a ticket seller for the Phnom Penh Sorya Transportation Co, said her company has raised fares by only $1.00 to any destination.

"The number of travellers has increased by about 50 percent, so we must raise our prices a little bit," she said.

For residents in the capital who rely on motorbike taxis, fares this festival season have also spiked as workers try to take advantage of greater demand.


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