Free buses to prov­ince planned

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Soth Koem­soeun

THE Ph­nom Penh mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment has an­nounced a plan to pro­vide lim­ited free bus ser­vices along na­tional roads dur­ing the Pchum Benh week. The plan will see 120 buses de­ployed to “ease peo­ple’s trav­els dur­ing the hol­i­day”, the cap­i­tal’s City Hall said in a state­ment.

The buses, to be used for in­ter­provin­cial jour­neys, are set to run from Oc­to­ber 6-11 and will leave Ph­nom Penh at 5:30am af­ter their seats are filled, it said.

Sev­era l routes a long the King­dom’s na­tiona l roads will be ser ved by t he buses which will start t heir jour­neys from mul­ti­ple de­par­ture points on the outsk irts of Ph­nom Penh and will stop at t he prov in­cia l halls of each prov ince as t hey drive t hrough.

De­par­ture lo­ca­tions are near the Mercedes show­room on Hun Sen Boule­vard for Na­tional Road 1 and 2; in front of Cen­tury Plaza Mar­ket for Na­tional Road 3 and 4; near the new Free­dom Park in Russey Keo for Na­tional Road 5; close to the round­about across the Chroy Chang­var bridge, near Chroy Chang­var Satel­lite City for Na­tional Road 6 and 7; and at the Km9 bus stop for na­tional road 8.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity will as­sign 10 buses each to na­tional roads 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7; 15 each to na­tional roads 6 and 8; and 40 for Na­tional Road 5.

City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said the pro­gramme is aimed at “help­ing peo­ple meet their fam­i­lies dur­ing Pchum Ben by re­duc­ing their travel ex­penses and min­imis­ing traf­fic ac­ci­dents.

“This is a present from Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen. He wishes ev­ery­one a happy and safe jour­ney on their visit to see their fam­i­lies in the prov­inces,” he said.

Af­fil­i­ated Net­work for So­cia l Ac­count­abilit y ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Sorn Chey ap­pre­ci­ated t he loca l gov­ern­ment’s ini­tia­tive to prov ide bus ser v ices dur­ing t he hol­i­day.

How­ever, he sug­gested that the gov­ern­ment needs to set a clear sched­ule and stop­ping points to make it easy for pas­sen­gers.

More­over, he also sug­gested the gov­ern­ment should take into ac­count the peo­ple who live far away from the na­tional roads.

“I sug­gest the gov­ern­ment as­sist the peo­ple whose houses are sit­u­ated far from the main roads. There’s no pub­lic trans­porta­tion that would take them di­rectly to their homes.

“They still need to pay for a mo­tor taxi to take them there, which is in­con­ve­nient. They want to avoid the has­sle, so they might opt for pri­vate buses even­tu­ally,” said Chey.

A sim­i­lar ini­tia­tive was car­ried out by the gov­ern­ment dur­ing this year’s Kh­mer New Year in April.

The de­ci­sion to pi­lot a free bus ser­vice came af­ter years of the prime min­is­ter urg­ing trans­porta­tion com­pa­nies to not hike prices dur­ing pop­u­lar travel sea­sons.

In ad­di­tion to the long-dis­tance bus ser­vices, the mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment also an­nounced the de­ploy­ment of 95 of the city’s pub­lic buses to ferry pas­sen­gers across Ph­nom Penh at no charge from Oc­to­ber 8-10.

Ear­lier in April, the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment promised to add 80 units to the city’s fleet of pub­lic buses. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has also pro­vided around 100 pub­lic buses since July last year, said Meas Pheakdey.

SRENG MENG SRUN

A Ph­nom Penh city bus makes its way through traf­fic last year. The gov­ern­ment says it would pro­vide free bus ser­vices dur­ing Pchum Ben week.

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