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PM adds three national roads to Khmer New Year service

Passengers use the public bus service as a driver navigates Phnom Penh’s Monivong Boulevard last year.
Passengers use the public bus service as a driver navigates Phnom Penh’s Monivong Boulevard last year. Pha Lina

PM adds three national roads to Khmer New Year service

Just 10 days before the planned start of a new, free bus service offering rides to certain provinces during Khmer New Year, Prime Minister Hun Sen added three more roads to the list of serviced routes.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Hun Sen said that in addition to the previously announced bus service on national roads 1 and 5, national roads 3, 4 and 6 would also have complimentary rides.

According to the post, the decision came after years of telling transportation firms to not hike prices during the travel season, which the premier noted wasn’t effective. “So I discussed with City Hall and made the decision to provide the bus service free of charge to deliver passengers,” he wrote.

Contacted the day before the premier’s post, Phnom Penh City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey said that only national roads 1 and 5 would be serviced by about 60 municipal buses. Reached yesterday, he said City Hall was still working on arranging the service, which is scheduled to run from April 12 to April 18.

“We are still discussing on the plan in order to ensure the safety for passengers and the required demand,” Measpheakdey said yesterday, adding he wasn’t sure how many buses would be used now.

The government has no plans to issue tickets for the service and instead plans to use a first-come, first-served system, according to the spokesman.

How that might work in practice, when buses that hold between 25 and 50 passengers open up to the possibly thousands of people waiting to board them, remains unclear.

Measpheakdey did not have any details yesterday regarding how a first-come, first-served system would be implemented.

This updated version corrects the story's byline.

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