Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday announced that about 200 public buses will be provided for people to use for free during Pchum Ben in October.
Mr Hun Sen made the announcement during a meeting with reps from trade unions and education associations, along with CPP activists, at the Koh Pich convention centre.
The plan follows a successful run of free bus services that transported 14,000 people to their hometown and back during Khmer New Year last week.
“Samdech Hun Sen announced that for Pchum Ben day, Phnom Penh municipal hall will prepare 200 city buses free to people and garment workers,” Mr Hun Sen said on Facebook.
During Khmer New Year, the government provided 60 public buses to help transport people back to their hometowns free of charge after pleading for private companies not to reduce their fares, a request that went unheeded.
“It was difficult to order private companies to keep their prices down in a free market economy,” Mr Hun Sen said before Khmer New Year. “So to solve the issue, we decided to approve the use of public buses to take people to the provinces over the holiday.”
Ear Phearith, deputy chief of Phnom Penh’s bus transportation authority, said that the pilot project was a resounding success for passengers and said that everyone was satisfied with the model.
“I see that people were happy and satisfied,” he said. “It was even the first time for some people using the public bus.”
Mao Nareth, 25, a restaurant staffer in Phnom Penh, said that he took the free service to his hometown of Kampot during Khmer New Year and expressed his satisfaction with not paying for the ride home.
“It’s good that the government is going to provide more buses for us,” he said. “I will take it again if the government keeps providing the service free of charge.”
Pchum Ben will take place from October 8 to 10.