City Hall yesterday announced an end to the free trial period for water taxis, which will now charge $0.50 per trip.
The service, which was launched recently, was free of charge until Monday.
The water taxis run from Prek Pnov area, in the northern part of Phnom Penh, to Takhmao city in Kandal province. There are four boats that operate from 5.30am to 6.30pm. Stops along the way are Russey Keo port, Old Market, Chaktomuk, Chbar Ampov and Takhmao.
Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng said in a statement that the service was launched last year in order to reduce traffic jams in the city. It was free for about a year, and now Mr Sreng said everyone must pay.
“Monks, the disabled, students, older people, workers and civil servants will not be charged,” he said.
In August last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen called the service “a gift for the Cambodian people” and that it was “a congratulatory gesture for the new economic and political success of Cambodia”.
Sous Samvan, a Russey Keo district resident, said she rides a water taxi from the district to Kandal Market in order to sell fish. She said that riding boats is easier because there’s not a lot of traffic on the river.
“My house is near the riverside, so I always ride water taxis in order to sell fish in the market,” Ms Samvan said. “We were riding for free for months, but I heard the government will charge for the service.”
“But I think that the price is not expensive,” she said. “We can pay for it.”
According to the Public Works Ministry, a water taxi costs about $200,000 and that six will eventually be used when full service is ready to be offered. Painted blue, these boats have air conditioners, and can carry about 60 passengers. Tickets are available in ticket offices at each stop.
In August last year, Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said the ministry is looking to expand services beyond the current routes. However, the ministry will only do so if demands for the service increase.
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