Firm Tests Paid Spots to Curb Parking Woes in Phnom Penh

With Phnom Penh’s parking situation in “disarray,” City Hall has agreed to allow a Cambodian-Japanese joint venture to test a paid-parking scheme next month in an effort to reduce the number of parked cars clogging the capital’s streets, according to company officials.

“The situation is messy and complicated because there are more and more motorbikes and cars in the city, so parking is becoming more difficult, and is in disarray,” municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said Monday.

Parking spaces near Phnom Penh's Ounalom pagoda that will be available to the public for an hourly fee beginning next month (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Parking spaces near Phnom Penh’s Ounalom pagoda that will be available to the public for an hourly fee beginning next month (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Mr. Dimanche said that with very few paid parking lots in Phnom Penh, the project “could be useful,” adding that he did not know enough about it to comment further.

The company behind the project, Shibatu Sonatra, has already built 26 high-tech parking spaces in the lot adjacent to Ounalom pagoda. Satsong Puthearak, an accountant for the firm, said they would be available to the public—for a fee—beginning in early July.

“We started testing our system in the parking lot on Friday, and it will take two to three weeks,” he said. “After that, the pilot will start officially.”

Mr. Puthearak said attendants at the parking lot would issue tickets to drivers when they enter the parking lot and select one of the spaces—each of which is equipped with a metal pole that rises up behind a car when it is stopped to prevent it from being moved. When a driver is ready to leave, he or she will hand the ticket back to an attendant and the pole will retract back into the ground, he explained.

“So far, we have tested the system on 18 parking spots already and they are fine,” he said.

Lim Kanotonal, head of information technology for Sonatra Carling—which is also involved in the parking project—said that if the pilot is deemed a success, the company would again negotiate with the municipality to set up more parking spaces around the city.

“For our next step, we will discuss with the City Hall to set up more parking spots and system at other locations if the pilot is successful,” he said.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Lim Kanotonal’s name. A previous version of this article also incorrectly stated that Mr. Kanotonal worked for Shibatu Sonatra.

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