Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday asked all taxi drivers and transportation companies to not increase prices during the Khmer New Year and said public buses in Phnom Penh would be free for citizens during that time.
Speaking to thousands of garment workers in Phnom Penh’s Por Senchey district, Mr Hun Sen said the Khmer New Year was fast approaching and everyone would leave the city to visit their hometown.
“The Khmer New Year will arrive soon and normally when the New Year comes, taxi prices increase. So, I want to take this opportunity to appeal to all taxi drivers, please do not increase prices over Khmer New Year,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen said citizens in the capital or those coming to visit Phnom Penh could ride public buses free of charge for the three days of the New Year.
“For people who don’t leave or citizens who come to visit Phnom Penh, they can take the public bus free of charge,” he said.
Khmer New Year will be celebrated from April 14 to 16. The people who migrate to work in Phnom Penh will leave to visit their hometown in the provinces, with most taking taxi or buses.
Chan Bunrith, 25, an employee of a private company in Chamkar Mon district, said yesterday that he rarely takes a taxi to visit his homeland in Battambang province during the Khmer New Year or any big holiday because the price increases a lot.
“Mostly, I ride with a VIP minibus which offers good service and keeps the standard price even on major holidays,” he said.
Mr Bunrith said last year he took a bus from the Phnom Penh Sorya Transport company, which increased ticket prices from about $5 to about $6.25.
“I am not happy when seeing taxi or bus prices increasing during major holidays because it affects our budget that we keep for visiting home. They should think about our difficulty as well,” he added.
He said every year he heard appeals from the premier and other officials about not increasing the price of transportation during the Khmer New Year or Pchum Ben, but nobody seemed to listen.
“I think it may be due to the drivers or the company needing a lot of profit on those days,” he said.
“I often hear the premier appeal like this every year, but it doesn’t seem to affect the transportation companies who still increase the price as they see fit.”
Ismael, a 48-year-old taxi driver based in Phnom Penh, said yesterday he would not take a break from work during the Khmer New Year because he thinks he will have a lot of customers during that period.
“There will be more people taking my taxi before and during the Khmer New Year. For the price, I will increase it on those days but not very much. I will just increase it a little so my clients can accept it,” he said.