Bus Depots Will Move to City Outskirts in Bid to Ease Traffic

Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong held a meeting with the city’s bus companies Thursday to inform them that starting next year, their depots and pickup points must be located outside the city center as part of efforts to ease worsening traffic congestion.

City Hall and the Japan International Cooperation Agency have been working for more than a decade on plans to curb congestion, and earlier this month showed off blueprints for a rail transit system they hope will reduce the number of motorbikes and cars in the city.

But the plans also include a wide range of more subtle measures, such as new parking regulations that will relocate depots and collection points to the city’s outskirts.

“Beginning in 2016, vehicles that carry passengers, including all buses, will not be permitted to come inside the city,” Mr. Socheatvong said during the meeting, adding that there were currently almost 70 depots and pickup points in the city.

The governor said that residents of Phnom Penh had been complaining that private companies were allowed to park buses along already busy thoroughfares.

“Our people are critical in public forums…because those buses take up a lot of space on our roads and we have small enough and too few roads as it is,” he said.

Another issue the traffic plan will address is Phnom Penh’s shortage of public parking spaces, which currently leaves drivers with little choice but to park on roadsides and sidewalks.

“I think that from this time to the end of the year, we will try making some streets one way, and have day and night parking on alternate odd and even-numbered streets,” Mr. Socheatvong said, adding the reforms would be announced through social media and television.

However, the governor assured the companies present that he was open to listening to their concerns and had yet to decide exactly where the new depots would be located.

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