Tuk-Tuk Drivers on the Outside Looking In

A small group of disgruntled tuk-tuk drivers protested outside Phnom Penh’s Aeon Mall on Thursday to demand that the mall scrap a priority access agreement it has with the Cambodia for Confederation Development Association (CCDA).

According to the agreement, which came into effect Monday, members of CCDA—which organizes moto-taxi and tuk-tuk drivers—are allowed to park their tuk-tuks on the mall’s property, giving them first priority to potential clients.

Tuk-tuks park behind Aeon Mall in Phnom Penh on Thursday. (Alex Consiglio/The Cambodia Daily)
Tuk-tuks park behind Aeon Mall in Phnom Penh on Thursday. (Alex Consiglio/The Cambodia Daily)

Drivers who have not paid for CCDA representation have been pushed off the mall’s grounds, where they say business is hard to come by.

CCDA president E Sophors on Thursday said his association struck a one-year deal with Aeon Mall on August 28 in order to ensure that Aeon customers had access to reliable transportation.

“The mall requires us to guarantee the safety of passengers and have insurance, licenses and identity cards,” Mr. Sophors said.

“We asked them [the non-members] to join us, but they did not want to,” he added.

Mr. Sophors said his members pay $120 per year for insurance, $50 for a uniform and $0.55 per month in association fees.

Shinobu Washizawa, managing director of Aeon (Cambodia) Co. Ltd., and Fumiaki Miyoshi, the mall’s administrative manager, both said they had no details of the deal.

Vorn Pao, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, a rival moto-taxi and tuk-tuk union, said they too submitted an application for a preferential agreement with Aeon, but it was turned down.

Mr. Pao said the current arrangement left drivers with little option but to pay to join the opposition union.

“They violate tuk-tuk drivers, as they are forced to join CCDA and pay money,” he said.

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