Phnom Penh Municipal officials and the municipal police will block most buses from entering and leaving the city from today onwards in a bid to stem traffic congestion, an official said Monday.
The municipality has also in-formed seven of the capital’s eight major bus companies to begin relocating their operations to the outskirts of the city from Monday onwards, deputy municipal governor Chreang Sophan said.
“The buses have caused traffic jams…. Bus stations outside the city are not too far for passengers,” said Chreang Sophan, who is in charge of the operation.
Whether the ban on some buses can really alleviate the capital’s worsening traffic situation remains to be seen.
There are an estimated 300 bu-ses operating in Phnom Penh, compared with 120,000 cars and some 470,000 motorbikes, Chre-ang Sophan said.
One bus company, Chreang Sophan added, will not have to relocate from the city center.
Malaysian-owned Soriya Trans-port Co Ltd, which operates the largest bus station near Phsar Thmei, was given a 25-year license from the government in 1996 and does not have to move, the company’s general manager Ma Fithay said.
Chreang Sophan claimed the company will limit its routes and number of buses.
Rival bus companies on Monday accused City Hall of engineering a monopoly on the transport business in Phnom Penh.
Sok Channy, general manager of the Rith Mony Trading Co Ltd in Prampi Makara district, said he will only agree to move if all eight companies do the same.
“If one stays, we will also stay,” he said.
Putting bus stations outside the city will deter potential customers, he said.
“The passengers will have to spend a lot of money to get to the bus stations,” he noted.
May Vicheat, manager of Neak Krahom Travel, said his buses will only consider moving from near the Apsara stage in Daun Penh district if the directive is applied to all companies.
If Neak Krahom Travel does relocate, it will have to hike up prices for customers to cover the cost of transporting them to a station outside the city center, he added.
SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said he supported relocating the bus stops but a handful of public buses should still be allowed to enter the city to transport customers to outlying bus stations.
The public needs public transport, particularly given the high price of gasoline, he added.