The Transport Ministry and a body representing tuk-tuk drivers have welcomed promised discounts for drivers from Sokimex petrol stations and cheaper service fees from the Grab ride-hailing application.
The drivers belong to the Cambodia for Confederation Development Association.
Most of the CCDA’s 5,000 members attended a meeting with the ministry at the new premises of the Union of Youth Federation of Cambodia in Chroy Changva district’s Prek Leap commune yesterday.
During the event, Grab is charging 5% commission for members, down from the normal fee of more than 10 percent, for the first six months as long as they are association members.
Sokimex offered to discount the price of petrol by 300 riels for traditional tuk-tuk drivers.
Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said that the government had worked relentlessly before reaching the deal with the two companies in an effort to improve their livelihoods.
“This is an event to improve the livelihoods of the informal economic transportation sector,” he said. “We have listened to the association who wanted us to find a way to help them and I understood their difficulties and I promised to help.”
“Finally, we can do it and this shows our true cooperation with the private sector and shows that the government always listens to the concerns of our people and we always do what we promised as you can witness today,” he added.
CCDA president Ek Samphors praised the effort of the ministry to meet their demands.
“The association has contributed to the lives of the tuk-tuk drivers by increasing their income,” he said. “This unofficial business helps promote economic growth and becomes a big industry and helps reform the tourism sector.”
Von Chandara, acting country manager of the Singapore-based Grab app, said that cooperation from the government was welcome.
“We took only five percent for the traditional tuk-tuk drivers belonging to the CCDA and as a private company, we are committed to providing the best service as well as raising the livelihoods of the drivers,” he said.
Despite the offer, traditional tuk-tuk driver Sao Sophal, 52, was uninterested and just wished to continue with his traditional ways despite complaining his income was down since Indian tuk-tuks began invading the capital via the Grab app.
“I have my own customers who will always support me. However, my income has been down over the past two years,” he said. “Two years ago, I got a daily income of about 100,000 riel ($25), but now I just get about 40,000 to 50,000 riel. My customers still tell me not to change and they will keep riding with my tuk-tuk because they want to help.”
Eang Sokun, 40, the driver of an Indian tuk-tuk, was optimistic about his use of the vehicle.
“It is easier to use this one because we only use the application to wait for customers,” he said. “I can earn from 70,000 riel to 80,000 riels with this Indian tuk-tuk, which is an increase from 40,000 riel to 50,000 riel when I drove the traditional tuk-tuk.”