Another Taxi Service Launches in Phnom Penh

Another company has entered Phnom Penh’s increasingly competitive taxi and limousine industry, putting the total number of companies at about five, according to city officials.

Taxi Rouge, which has a 12-strong fleet of red cabs, started its service at 5 p.m. Friday with a 1.6 km-trip from the corner of Street 63 and Sihanouk Boulevard to the Tuol Sleng Museum.

“I started this company because I saw that other taxi companies did not make their customers feel comfortable,” said Aum Rithyrith, the owner of Taxi Rouge.

“We saw that at least three other companies are competing to get profits, but none of them want to make customers ride a second time.”

Mr. Rithyrith said he plans to undercut other companies by charging riders $1 for every 1.6 km. Most city taxi companies charge between $0.75 and $1 per km.

He said the lower price was possible because his fleet is comprised of energy-efficient Toyota Priuses.

Officials at other taxi companies on Friday said they were concerned about the growing number of competitors in the city, especially because most people still travel by motodops and tuk-tuks.

“If there is an increase in taxi companies, then we will be unhappy,” said Eang Som Nimol, chief accountant at Global Taxi company.

“It will decrease the number of customers because they have more to choose from. Our profits will go down too.”

But Tous Sapha, deputy chief of the business registration office at the Ministry of Commerce’s department of commerce, said the government would like to see more taxi companies in Phnom Penh as well as the provinces.

“Phnom Penh has about five taxi meter companies, but we want more [companies] in some of the provinces,” he said. “We need more [companies] in Phnom Penh.”

“If the number of taxi companies increase, there will be good competition within the free market in Cambodia,” he said.

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