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Free rides for water taxis and western railway extended

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Water taxis transporting people along the Mekong River. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday extended the fare-free period for the capital’s water taxi system until the end of the year as a way of expressing his gratitude for the results of Sunday’s election.

Rides in the western rail line and the airport shuttle service will also be free until January 2019, as recently announced by Royal Railway.

The three services were being offered free-of-charge during their first few months of operation, but the fare-free period was scheduled to expire in the beginning of August.

Speaking during the inauguration of the water taxi system in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district, Mr Hun Sen said, “This is a gift to the Cambodian people, a congratulatory gesture for the new economic and political success of Cambodia.”

He said rides in the water taxi system will be free until January 2019.

Once it becomes a paid service, fares will vary depending on distance, with the lowest ticket price being 1,000 riels ($0.25), and the most expensive 8,000 riels ($2), according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

Water taxis run from Prek Pnov area, the northern part of Phnom Penh, to Takhmao city, in Kandal province. There are now four boats in operation, running every day from 5:30am to 6:30pm. They stop at five stations along the waterway: Russey Keo port, Old Market, Chaktomuk, Chbar Ampob, and Takhmao.

More than 30,000 passengers used the waterway taxi service since its launch in April. The boats can carry up to 60 passengers at a time.

Similar to Mr Hun Sen’s announcement, Royal Railway, the company in charge of managing the country’s railway network, said yesterday it will extend the free rides for the western rail line and the airport shuttle service until December 31.

Starting January 2019, a ride from Phnom Penh to Poipet city in the rail line will cost $7, Royal Railway said.

The western rail line stretches for 386 kilometres, connecting the capital to Poipet city in the border with Thailand. Restoration of the railway, destroyed during the country’s civil war, finished last month.

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