Motorbike Taxi Drivers Protest Parking Lot Fee

The Phnom Penh Municipality on Friday ordered the owner of a parking lot on the city’s outskirts to stop collecting fees illegally from motorbike taxis waiting to shuttle passengers and cargo, a municipal official said.

The order resulted from a demonstration Friday morning, when drivers marched in front of municipal offices. The drivers were protesting against Suy So­phan, director of Phan Y Mech Co and owner of the Chroy Changva parking lot, who allegedly charged the drivers for parking as they waited for fares, said Heng Vantha, municipal vice chief of Cabinet.

Heng Vantha said 150 motorbike taxi drivers accused the parking lot owner of charging them each $0.50 for parking. Municipal officials told the demonstrators to disperse after informing them that a resolution would be reached, Heng Vantha said.

The drivers “agreed to pay 500 riel [about $0.12] for parking because they could earn 4,000 to 6,000 riel [about $1 to about $1.50] per day, and I promised to solve the matter,” Heng Vantha said.

He said that, after the demonstrators dispersed, he and municipal officials met with parking lot owners and asked them not to take money from drivers.

He said all agreed, except Suy Sophan, who defended the fees and claimed that crowds of drivers scared the passengers. Suy Sophan later agreed to stop charging the fees, Heng Vantha said.

In mid-August, the city ordered that all vehicles arriving from the provinces must stop at an outlying parking station to transfer their cargo or passengers to taxis—many of them motorcycles—operating within Phnom Penh.

The order intends to improve safety and reduce traffic in the city, municipal officials say.


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