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Bus and ferry services return

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A city bus travelling along Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh on November 2. Hean Rangsey

Bus and ferry services return

The Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority (City Bus) will reopen public bus and ferry services from November 2 onwards and the services will be free for a limited time to make it easier for people who wish to use public transport.

In an announcement on November 1, City Bus said it decided to launch a trial service of buses and ferries from November 2 after Prime Minister Hun Sen declared the country fully reopen in all sectors.

According to the notice, there are five bus routes. Lines 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B will follow the same routes as before their suspension.

Line 1 runs south from the Prek Pnov Bus Terminal along National Road 5 to the Chroy Changvar roundabout, and continues along Monivong Boulevard and onto National Road 1 to end at the Veal Sbov Bus Terminal.

Line 2 runs southeast from the Chroy Changvar roundabout along France Street (47) towards Wat Phnom, turns onto Norodom Boulevard, continues to National Road 2, and stops at the base of the Takhmao bridge.

Line 3 runs south from the Russey Keo Garden Bus Terminal along National Road 5, onto Sisowath Quay, turns right on Street 106, left on Norodom Boulevard, right on Street 130 to Central Market, then takes Kampuchea Krom Street (128) west, onto Russian Federation Boulevard, turns left at the Chaom Chao roundabout onto National Road 3 and turns left towards the Borey Santepheap II Bus Terminal.

Line 4A runs south from the Russey Keo Garden Bus Terminal along National Road 5, turns onto the Chroy Changvar roundabout and heads southeast along France Street (47) towards Wat Phnom, heads onto Samdech Monirech Boulevard (Street 217), turns right onto Veng Sreng Boulevard, left at the Tuol Pongro stoplight, and ends at the Borey Santepheap II Bus Terminal.

Similarly, Line 4B runs south from the Russey Keo Garden Bus Terminal along National Road 5, turns onto the Chroy Changvar roundabout and heads southeast along France Street (47) towards Wat Phnom, turns onto Samdech Monirech Boulevard (Street 217), then right onto Veng Sreng Boulevard (but does not turn at the Tuol Pongro stoplight), then turns onto National Road 3 at the Chaom Chao roundabout, and ends at the Borey Santepheap II Bus Terminal.

The announcement added that ferry services begin at Russey Keo Park station and go to Takhmao bus station.

Meanwhile, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration will allow free rides for six days from November 2-7 and regular service charges from November 8, except for monks, the elderly, children less than 1m tall, students, workers, athletes and teachers.

City Bus said passengers are required to follow health measures by presenting vaccination cards for adults, wearing masks, using hand sanitiser, temperature checks, scan the “Stop Covid” QR code, and sit in prepared chairs.

Vorn Pov, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, said reopening public transport was a positive step in facilitating people's travel.

"It's a positive point in the reopening of the country in terms of urban transport, and I think this positive point will show national and international tourists that our country is safe in terms of good management of Covid-19," he said.

Pov added that this is also the hope of informal workers and can facilitate the movement of workers after the closure of the country for two years. It will help all, not just those in garment factories, it will make travel convenient.

However, Pov called on the government to consider free public transport for a reasonable period of one to three months as some people still face hardships.

"Even with the reopening of the country, the economy will not immediately return to normal. People’s incomes won’t be enough to pay for many items, because now gasoline prices are going up and gas prices are going up and the income is not yet balanced. So, if the state waves the public service fee for three months, this is better as people can save some money," he said.

The bus and ferry services were suspended by municipal hall on March 26 last year.

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