Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday delivered a familiar, and traditionally futile, annual appeal to the transportation industry not to raise fares over Pchum Ben.
“I firmly hope that during this year’s Pchum Ben Festival, taxis do not increase their prices,” he said at a university graduation ceremony.
In previous years, the premier has made the same appeal but without success.
“I appeal like this, but they do not listen,” he admitted. Hun Sen also appealed to drivers to follow traffic regulations. Last year, 34 people died in 74 accidents during the three-day festival.
In related news, Sun Chanthol, minister of public works, announced at a meeting yesterday that 14 bus and transport companies had promised they would not raise prices.
Chanthol confessed to being baffled by the cooperation, saying: “I do not understand; in the past the price always goes up during festivals.”
“Legally we can’t do anything, since it’s the free market,” he added, “but we can appeal to them.”
Nov Keavirak, manager of the Phnom Penh branch of the Virak Buntham bus company, told the Post that keeping prices stable was good for society, adding that this year’s lower petrol prices had helped the firm to hold down fares.
“Before, we used to raise the price, because the gasoline price was high and because we have to offer more money to staff who work on festival days,” Keavirak said.