Despite fare increases, passengers crammed into share taxis and buses near Phsar Thmei in Phnom Penh on Oct 10 morning, laden with luggage and homeward bound for the Pchum Ben holiday.
Sok Kea, 20, was pressed against the window of the minivan she was riding to Kompong Thom province. Sticking her head out the window, she complained of the price hike as the van navigated traffic congestion on its way out of town.
She said she was forced to shell out $3.50—up from the usual $2—for the trip, adding that although her wages as a waitress in Phnom Penh were minimal, it was not as if she had a choice in the matter.
“I have to go back home to meet my family,” she said.
Phum Vuthy, 25, darted from one side of Charles de Gaulle Boulevard to the other, attempting to entice people heading to Kompong Speu province aboard his beat-up Hyundai minivan.
“Every holiday and festival I like most because I can earn a lot of money,” he said excitedly.
He said he had only raised the price of a ride by $0.25 to $1.50, but that when all was said and done Oct 10 he would be able to make between $50 and $75—which compared favorably to his average daily wages of under $15.
When his van finally pulled away from the curb, its bottom sank with the weight of 19 passengers, each carrying multiple bags.
A ticket seller at the Sorya bus station near Phsar Thmei said tickets to Kampot province were up to $6.25—a more than $2 increase from the normal fare.
Seng Rithy, 24, a student at Build Bright University, said he was willing to shell out more for a bus ticket to Sihanoukville, which cost $5 instead of the usual $3.75, rather than take a taxi.
“Taxis go very fast. I am afraid. It’s dangerous,” he said.