More than 20 moto-carriage owners gathered at the offices of City Governor Chea Sophara before moving on to the National Assembly on Monday to protest a ban preventing them from driving on Phnom Penh’s streets.
Outside the National Assembly, the disgruntled drivers said they have no choice but to protest after the recent crackdown by police on those who bring the three-wheeled buggies into the city.
Sok Seng, representative for the protesters, said the carriage owners spend around $800 to purchase the vehicles but are now unable to use them in the city. Moreover, he said, they have to spend $5 for licenses to drive in the city.
“We are demanding the government solve this problem… We can’t make money to feed our families,” said 43-year-old moto-carriage driver Srey Sreng.
According to Sok Seng, the ban falls under a law meant to curb motorcycles pulling carts loaded with people. However, the new-style carriages only seat four to five passengers.
Chan Sokunthea, advisor to Chea Sophara, said Monday that moto-carriages are hazardous in traffic and have been banned from city streets since last year.
The problem now lies with companies who sell the carriages and tell their customers they are legal, he said.
“They bought the [moto-carriages] from sellers who told them they could drive in the city. They were lied to,” Chan Sokunthea said.
One moto-carriage importer said Monday her company has never misinformed buyers.
“We already understand the policy of the city is to stop these taxis. But the people who buy them think that they are nice and will be allowed drive them in the city,” said the businesswoman, who did not want to be named.