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City’s bus service to expand

Locals catch a ride down Phnom Penh’s Monivong Boulevard during a public bus trial earlier this year
Locals catch a ride down Phnom Penh’s Monivong Boulevard during a public bus trial earlier this year. Charlotte Pert

City’s bus service to expand

The government will take next month to establish an autonomous transport authority before introducing two new public bus lines in September, bringing the total number of routes to three.

Adding to the city’s current 10 buses, 40 more recently arrived at the port of Preah Sihanouk province from South Korea for the bus lines’ expansion, Phnom Penh City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said. Officials met yesterday to begin planning for the new routes.

“We will take one month to create the leadership of the autonomous authority of public transport,” Dimanche said. “We have not found any private companies yet, so City Hall will run it.”

The municipality will run the routes until a private firm can be contracted, he added.

Choice Taxi Company applied for the contract about two years ago, general director Choi Dae Yong said.

Dae Yong hopes his company can partner with the municipality in running the three bus lines, he said in a phone interview yesterday.

“[We are] waiting for their answer back” from the city, Dae Yong said. “If possible, we can join with City Hall in managing the [bus] system in cooperation.”

In March, Global (Cambodia) Trade Development was given a contract for Phnom Penh’s existing line, which runs along Monivong Boulevard. But the municipality pulled the firm’s contract a month later, leaving City Hall to run the buses.

Fares currently run passengers 1,500 riel ($0.38).

With all three routes in place, Phnom Penh will have one line operating from Monivong Boulevard’s Kilometre 9 to Kdev Takuv pagoda, a second from the roundabout by the French Embassy on Monivong to Kandal province’s Takhmao tow, and a third from Phnom Penh’s Night Market along the riverside to Dangkor district’s Choam Chao commune, Dimanche said.

While new to Cambodia, the 40-bus fleet at Preah Sihanouk’s port has previously carried passengers along routes in South Korea, he added.

“They are second-hand buses, but they are OK for us to use. When they arrive in the capital, we will paint over their current colours, design logos and start running them.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN

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