Poeun Da abandoned his job at a Phnom Penh garment factory to drive a tuk-tuk last year, and the $3,000 investment in his vehicle seemed to pay off. Da said he could earn at least 100,000 riel ($25) a day, and between $500 and $600 a month, ferrying locals and tourists through the capital via mobile ride-hailing apps.
That was the case until mid-March when the global Covid-19 pandemic made its way to Cambodia — with confirmed cases rising from one to more than 100 — and dealt a blow to his livelihood. Now, he earns just $2.50 to $5 a day.
“It’s really hard, bro! To be frank, in one day, [I get] only one ride,” said the husband and father last month. “Today, from morning till night, I had only one ride, and I need to pay to the [ride-hailing] company and some for gas.”