Phnom Penh has one million motorbikes (motorcycle taxi or motodup) and 300,000 cars but this expanding urban hub surprisingly doesn’t have a mass transportation system.
…the purpose of this pilot project is to reduce traffic accidents and traffic congestion as well as to change the Cambodians’ habit from using personal cars to public buses.
Public buses were first deployed in 2001 but the program lasted for only two months because of lack of government subsidies and passenger interest. Aside from riding the motor taxis, Phnom Penh residents also use the popular tuktuks.
Abigail Gilbert sees several benefits of using the bus:
The last public bus trial, more than 10 years ago, was not popular, as locals preferred the door to door service of the two-wheeled variety. This new City Bus trial, partly funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, will discover if attitudes have changed. There are some clear benefits for visitors to the city, including the icy air-con, the impossibility of bag snatching, a set fare, and a clearly marked route.
Phnom Penh resident and prominent blogger Tharum Bun welcomes the arrival of the buses:
We’ve talked a lot about traffic jam, too many motorcycles and vehicles, and no public transportation. Starting early this February, the bus will run on Monivong Boulevard. It’s an opportunity for most of us, who are willing to get back on the bus.
But Tharum learned that some motor taxi drivers are worried about the impact of the buses on their livelihood:
The motor taxi driver told me that he’s worried about this this public transportation as he’s got only one source of income.
The trial will involve 10 buses running every day from 5:30am until 8:30pm.
Many Phnom Penh residents were excited about the bus trial and they quickly posted photos of the public buses on Twitter:
— Santel PHIN (@khmerbird) February 9, 2014
— Anna Maj Hultgård (@AnnaMajHultgard) February 5, 2014
— Mongkol T. (@somongkol) January 26, 2014
— M. Ibrahim (@RED_MHI) February 9, 2014
— Khiri Cambodia (@KhiriCambodia) February 5, 2014
*Thumbnail used is from @KhiriCambodia