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Capital to launch trial bus route

Capital to launch trial bus route

Phnom Penh commuters fed up with navigating the city’s increasingly busy streets will have a chance to test a new public bus service beginning in February.

Phnom Penh Municipality spokesman Long Dimanche yesterday confirmed a one-month trial of a bus service along a 7.5-kilometre route running from Monivong Boulevard to Chbar Ampov Market.

Dimanche said ticket prices were still being negotiated for the trial, which is set to run daily between 5.30am and 8.30pm.

“If it is a success, a permanent public bus service will be installed and operated,” he told the Post.

“Phnom Penh’s population is quickly approaching two million people and subsequently the number of motos and cars on the road is also increasing.… Every day the city is congested with traffic, so it is clear a public transport service is necessary.”

City Hall’s announcement comes more than 10 years after Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) first floated the idea of a public bus service in Phnom Penh. The JICA urban transport master plan was scrapped after a similar trial was unable to compete with the affordable moto trade.

Dimanche confirmed the project will be operated by the municipality with the “cooperation” and support of JICA, but would not reveal details of the deal.

Though owning a scooter, 22-year-old university student Nguon Menglin welcomed the idea, but said walking to a bus stop could prove difficult with parked cars, scooters and businesses often blocking
the way.

“If it is well organised in terms of price and scheduling, I will use the service,” he said.

Further bus routes and stop locations will be decided upon if the trial proves successful.

The JICA refused to comment on the matter, pending further information.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY EDDIE MORTON

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