Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The passenger taxi boat service between Phnom Penh’s northern Russey Keo district to Kandal province’s Takhmao town currently sees 200 passengers daily, down about five per cent compared to the same period last year. HEAN RANGSEY

Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday.

In 2018, the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall set up a public taxi boat service which travels from the capital’s northern Russey Keo district to Kandal province’s Takhmao town.

The route is operated by four boats and the journey takes 45 minutes.

Speaking to The Post, Sokhim said the service currently sees 200 passengers daily and cited several reasons for the decline in ridership.

“The main reason why the public boat service isn’t seeing as many passengers is probably because there are currently ample bus services available, and the road between Takhmao and Phnom Penh is well served,” he said, adding that more than half the passengers merely ride for leisure.

More than half the riders make use of the government’s fare-waiver programme, yielding lower revenue, he said. However, he did not disclose last year’s earnings.

In August, the municipal government announced that it will extend its city bus and boat taxi fare-waiver programme for workers until September 1, 2021. The programme, which has been in effect since 2017, was extended from its previous September 1, 2019 end date.

“[Prime Minister] Hun Sen has allowed the Phnom Penh Administration to continue not taking any fares from workers who travel by either city buses or boat taxis, but [they must] show their work IDs to the service providers.

“The move will increase living standards as well as reduce travel expenses,” read the announcement.

Aside for Saturday and Sunday, ridership may fall just below 10 passengers, says Bun Chan, a soft drink seller near the Takhmao port station.

Despite the boat trip being quick and easy, and free for workers, the option remains unattractive, she said.

“Some days I just don’t see anyone travelling. Those who come near the Takhmao station are just sitting, relaxing and enjoying the sights,” Chan said.

She said more people ride during weekends and holidays, though most travel merely for leisure. Scheduled departure times are also adjusted to accommodate more passengers.

A ticket sales staff member at the Takhmao station said ridership has suffered because many consider the boats unsafe, and having to obtain onward transportation is a hassle.

“They have to wait a long time to get on the boats because there are only four in operation,” the staff member said, adding that the fare is currently 2,000 riel ($0.50) for each trip.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • No more Africa travel ban but new rules for arrivals

    The Ministry of Health has decided to lift the ban on travellers from or who have travelled through 10 African countries and instead issued a set of standard operating procedures to manage passenger arrivals at Cambodia’s international airports. The 10 African countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho,

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • PM blasts Vietnam general over Covid claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 6 expressed dismay after Vietnamese general Hoang Xuan Chien, formerly in charge of Vietnam’s border defences, claimed that Cambodia was a source of Covid-19 transmissions to the country. Speaking at the opening ceremony for National Road 11 connecting Prey Veng