Phnom Penh’s lone bus line along Monivong Boulevard was significantly expanded yesterday, while two other lines are set to begin operation in the coming weeks, according to City Hall.
Bus Line 1 – the current route, which operates from 5:30am to 8:30pm – will now run a total of 67 stops, starting from Monivong Boulevard’s Kilometre 9 near the Japanese Friendship Bridge and going south to Chbar Ampov district along National Road 1, then back up again.
Tickets will remain 1,500 riel ($0.37) per person, and services for the disabled, elderly, monks and schoolchildren will be free, city spokesman Long Dimanche said.
Line 2, which will run from Phnom Penh’s night market to Takhmao town, is to begin operation on September 7. Line 3, which is to run from the night market to Choam Chao commune, is to open a week later.
Dimanche said City Hall had obtained 45 buses for the three lines, with 19 of them for Line 1. He declined to comment on the cost, which he said was still under discussion, and added that up to 18 lines would be created by 2035.
Independent analyst Kem Ley said the sustainability of the current bus plan would hinge on three factors.
“Public transport should be open to investment from private companies, with no under-the-table corruption; infrastructure institutions must be reformed; and road construction must be expanded,” he said.
A private firm scheduled to run the buses has not been chosen yet, according to Dimanche. The current fleet, run by City Hall, consists of secondhand buses from South Korea.
Global (Cambodia) Trade Development was granted a contract for the Monivong route in March, but the municipality cancelled the deal a month later.
How the expanded fleet will fare in the city’s bustling traffic is a concern for some.
Hom Sothun, who works for Sathapana Bank, usually takes the bus in the early morning and said he had mixed feelings.
“Using the public bus helps save money and the environment, but not time due to traffic congestion.”