Phnom Penh municipality will allow tuk-tuk drivers until the end of this year to make sure their vehicles are fitted with a license plate before traffic police start handing out fines, officials said yesterday after a meeting at City Hall.
In October the municipality issued a notice ordering traffic police to confiscate all three-wheeled vehicles that have not been properly registered by their drivers, a decision that resulted in a noisy demonstration by hundreds of tuk-tuk drivers on Norodom Boulevard earlier this month.
“The City Hall has given drivers until the end of 2009 to buy their license plates,” said Vorn Pao, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economic Association, adding that tuk-tuk drivers had been unable to acquire license plates due to the sluggishness of the municipal transportation department.
“We really want to make the license plates for drivers so they are legal in doing their business,” said Mr Pao. “But they [the transportation department] could not do it on time.”
Nhem Saran, director of the municipal public works and transportation department, denied yesterday that his department was taking too long to issue license plates for tuk-tuk drivers.
“We will do the license plate for them, but they come here without enough documents,” he said. License plates for tuk-tuk drivers cost around $30, he added.
Mr Saran said that his department had so far received between 20 and 30 tuk-tuk drivers requesting a license plate per day.
Mr Pao, whose association has more than 1,300 tuk-tuk drivers, said that only 30 of his members had received licenses so far due to the lack of speed in processing drivers’ documents.
“We will write a letter to the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation next week to try and start issuing more licenses in the provinces,” said Mr Pao.
Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema and several other municipal officials could not be reached for comment yesterday, while Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said he was unaware of the meeting held at City Hall.