Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tuk-tuk drivers protest fares

Tuk-tuk drivers protest fares

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
More than 100 PassApp tuk-tuk drivers gathered on Wednesday to protest against the firm’s move to reduce fares in response to stiff competition with other ride-hailing apps. Heng Chivoan

Tuk-tuk drivers protest fares

More than 100 PassApp tuk-tuk drivers protested on Hun Sen Boulevard in the capital on Wednesday to demand that prices be restored after PassApp Technologies Co Ltd announced plans to reduce the fares that drivers rely on for their daily income.

This was the second time the drivers had expressed their dissatisfaction about the price reduction after they gathered on Tuesday in the Boeung Kak area.

A letter from the drivers to PassApp said: “We will stage demonstrations in front of the company and protest to have the company shut down. If there are no solutions, we will present a petition to [Prime Minister] Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.”

The protesters are demanding that PassApp restore fares to their previous level – with the first kilometre charged at 3,000 riel [$0.75] and a rate of 1,200 riel per kilometre after that.

They also insist on the commission they are charged being returned to 13 per cent from the new 15 per cent and have asked the company for life and vehicle insurance.

A PassApp employee, who asked not to be named, told The Post on Wednesday that the company had decided to reduce its fares this month in response to competition because PassApp had seen that it was charging more than other companies.

The employee said PassApp would hold discussions at senior management level and would take the drivers’ demands into account.

“A lot of tuk-tuk drivers have contacted me and we told them that we’ll make a report to the top management first and that the issue is under consideration to see if they can increase the fares,” the employee said.

Keo Nary, a 33-year-old tuk-tuk driver who has used PassApp’s service since 2016, told The Post on Wednesday that more than 100 tuk-tuk and taxi drivers had gathered again to collect their thumbprints and present a petition to the company demanding that it restore the old price structure.

“I want the company to keep the original prices. We don’t want more than this. When the company lowers the price, a 10km journey will fetch only 8,000 riel – and 15 per cent is cut [as commission]."

“Let’s think – 8,000 riel to transport [a passenger] a distance of 10km? There is very little money left after paying for the gas,” Nary said.

‘The victims were the drivers’

Besides petitioning PassApp, the tuk-tuk drivers have also presented their letter to competitor Grab to urge it to also increase its fares.

Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (Idea) deputy secretary-general Long Vuthy said it was not altogether surprising in the free market that PassApp had decided to lower its fares to attract clients. But, he said, the victims were the tuk-tuk drivers.

Vuthy said there were a plethora of tuk-tuk drivers in Cambodia and people should “think twice before choosing this career”. “This competitiveness takes its toll on the drivers. If the company wants to compete by lowering prices, please reduce the commission so the drivers have some money left over. Otherwise, the drivers will suffer,” Vuthy said.

There are currently more than 20,000 tuk-tuks in Cambodia.

Tuk-tuk driver Mok Phalla said: “We’ve made these demands because other companies don’t have as many customers as PassApp.

“That’s why I still want to use the PassApp service. But when the company lowers prices, I’m worried that profits will decrease to the extent that I can’t support myself.”

Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey told The Post that the authorities would attempt to help both parties reach a compromise.

“On Wednesday evening, we met them to hear their concerns and we just finished. So we’ll meet with a working group to seek a joint resolution to the problem,” Pheakdey said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Mother, daughter killed in hotel fire

    The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • EBA withdrawal a destruction of EU achievements, PM says

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the EU’s possible suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement amounted to a destruction of its achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition group. Hun Sen made the remarks while addressing more than 6,700 students during

  • Kingdom calls on Japan to increase number of direct flights to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh

    Cambodia is requesting Japan to increase the number of direct flights from Japanese cities and provinces to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, so as to contribute to increasing cooperation and tourist numbers between the two countries. During the opening ceremony of 3rd Japan Travel Fair

  • Court orders Sokha to stand trial on January 15 for treason

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has set January 15 as the trial date for Kem Sokha, the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) who is under court-supervised bail on a treason charge. In a press release issued on Monday, the municipal