The Phnom Penh Municipal Hall has called on people to start using public bus services again, saying it will reduces people’s cost of living and that the service provides safety for travellers.

Municipal deputy governor Keut Che told The Post on March 15 that the bus service was restarted after Prime Minister Hun Sen announced an end to the Kingdom’s third coronavirus outbreak – dubbed the “February 20 community event” – and reopened the country. Previously, the number of bus users was close to 30,000 a day, but the number had declined sharply. Around 7,000 a day currently use the service.

“We are calling on people to ride the buses again. Do not be afraid of Covid-19, because we practise the three dos and don’ts and maintain a very high standard of health measures. In addition, because of global challenges, the world is facing increasing petrol prices. When we use public transport, we reduce the financial burden on our family,” he said.

He added that supporting the state bus service also contributes to a reduction in traffic accidents and guarantees the safety of passengers. The municipal hall was continuing to work hard to expand bus routes closer to more people’s destinations.

“Using the buses helps to preserve the environment in our city as we are responsible for far less emissions. In addition, we are contributing to a reduction in congestion – imagine adding 30,000 motorbikes to the streets! There are many good reasons for us to utilise these services,” he said.

The Phnom Penh City Bus is a municipal public transport system which is open from 5.30am until 8.30pm. Tickets are 1,500 riel per trip, although monks, the elderly, the disabled, garment workers, students and children under 1m tall are exempt from fares.

Khly Norak, head of the City Bus Administrative Office, told The Post on March 15 that after resumption of the bus service – after a temporary halt from Covid-19 – City Bus was operating 60 buses across its busiest routes.

“We are currently operating routes 1 to 4, which are our busiest lines. This is equal to about 30 per cent of our routes, but will be meeting to discuss reopening more shortly after Khmer New Year,” he said.

Norak added that the City Bus has more than 200 drivers ready to work, and that the authority has used the downtime to carry out repairs and maintenance to its bus stops.