City Drivers Say Inspections Are Too Expensive

Phnom Penh truck and taxi drivers on Monday complained that the recently introduced mandatory motor vehicle inspections were  too expensive, time consuming and prone to petty corruption.

But while drivers claimed the inspections were too costly at $11 to $16 for merely diagnostic checks, officials at PIAT, the Stung Mean­chey commune company that in April received exclusive rights to con­duct inspections, said offering ac­tual repairs would create a conflict of interest.

“If we require vehicle owners to fix their cars at our garage, they will accuse us of trying to earn money,” said a PIAT official who declined to be named. “We just want them to drive safer vehicles,” she said.

The municipality issued the ve­hicle inspection order in April and on July 29 said those who had not obtained inspection certificates by Aug 20 could face fines. The dead­line, however, has since been ex­tend­ed indefinitely, ac­cord­ing to mun­icipal officials.

Kong Montha, 38, who took his car to be checked Sunday, lambasted the inspection process. “The charge for inspections should be lower…they just check and then write a letter ordering us to take our car for repairs.” Inspections cost him $17 and subsequent re­pairs $25, he said.

Municipal and company officials confirmed that the inspection letters, which are nonbinding, inform car owners of problems with their ve­hicles but do not require that they be repaired.

And while the high cost irked some car owners, the long lines at the inspection center annoyed others.

Vendor Cheat Sothea, 42, said he paid some cash to PIAT em­ployees to have his minibus moved to the front of the inspection line, which he claimed was hundreds of vehicles long.

“If I didn’t bribe them, I wouldn’t get my car checked, and I don’t have time to wait around for hours,” he said.

The PIAT official said she was not aware of such practices.

Long Visal, 41, a long-haul taxi driver, said some of his friends had waited in line for two days for their vehicles to be inspected.

Heng Vantha, Phnom Penh mu­nicipal deputy cabinet chief, said that “vehicles transporting goods and people” now have priority for inspection over residential vehicles because of the backlog.


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