With Khmer New Year fast approaching, Phnom Penh residents were preparing Sunday for their exodus back to their homes in the provinces, buying bus tickets and packing bags.
Meanwhile, bus companies are preparing in a different way.
Rith Mony Transport Company Sunday began charging higher fares and was to continue to do so until three days after the New Year, a nine-day period during which the majority of people travel for the holiday, according togeneral manager Thorng Sovanna.
For example, a bus ride with his company from Phnom Penh to Battambang City usually costs 20,000 riel, or about $5, he said. Now, that ticket costs 38,000 riel.
Phnom Penh Sorya Transport Co had also raised its prices.
“There are a few factors, which make my bus company increase the fare of the bus ticket during such an occasion. The price of diesel is expensive, hiring more buses and there are no passengers when the buses return to Phnom Penh,” general manager Chan Sophanna said.
Chou Thorng, 26, was waiting Sunday for a Rith Mony Transport Company bus to Battambang province, where she was born. Although the fare was expensive, she was prepared to pay it in order to celebrate the New Year in her native province.
“The bus ticket fare was very expensive,” Ms Thorng said as she stood with luggage in her hands.
Nearby was a retired man, Ny Sunly, 69, with his daughter and three grandchildren. Normally a ticket to their destination in Siem Reap province is 20,000 riel, he said.
However, because of Khmer New Year the price had gone up. “I spent 160,000 riel for four of us on the bus tickets…but my small grandson is not charged because he is young,” Mr Sunly said.
Such increases occur despite the municipality discouraging them.
“In the past half month through the media, radio and TV announcements, we informed all transport service providers, such as taxi drivers, not to increase the fare of the service,” Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said.