Phnom Penh municipality yesterday called on bus companies, taxi drivers and other transport businesses not to increase their fares as the exodus of residents to the provinces hits full tilt today for the start of the Pchum Ben national holiday.
“In this opportunity, some company owners and passenger vehicle owners always seize the opportunity to increase transport fees which make the people complain,” according to a statement issued by City Hall yesterday. “Phnom Penh Municipality would like company owners and vehicle owners who conduct transport services form Phnom Penh to other provinces to please not increase transport fees on the occasion of any big festival.”
Municipal deputy governor Pa Socheatvong said the statement was a response to several companies’ price hikes. He declined to comment, however, on what measures would be taken against companies that raise prices.
Phnom Penh Sorya Transport company has increased its bus ticket prices by an average of $2.50 to cover rental costs that boost the company’s fleet from 30 buses to 40 during holidays, said Chhim Chamnan, an assistant to the company’s director.
“If rental fees were not so high, the transport fee would not be expensive,” he said.
He added that most traffic was one-way, so buses returned empty to Phnom Penh, burning gas, but not making money.
Those waiting for transport near Phsar Thmei yesterday complained that several companies had increased prices by up to 40 percent.
Kim Sien, a military police officer, said near Phsar Thmey that he paid more than $7 for a bus ticket to Battambang that usually cost him about $4.
“It seems that there is no laws or rules,” he said. “Anytime when there is a national festival, the companies increase the prices arbitrarily.”
Khieu Sophal, a taxi driver parked at Phsar Doeum Kor, said yesterday that he had to raise prices because he never had passengers to pay for gas on return trips to Phnom Penh.
“Every year is like that and the people know about it,” he said.