City Hall has started a free traffic law training course for tuk-tuk and rickshaw drivers using ride-hailing apps after strong criticism from the public that they do not respect road laws.
Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng on Friday issued a notice appealing to all drivers using ride-hailing apps to attend the course.
The Department of Public Works and Transport is conducting the course every Saturday from 8am to 5pm for two months, ending in May.
Mr Sreng said that most tuk-tuk and rickshaw drivers in the capital do not have driving licences. He said the free course is aimed at reducing traffic accidents and ensuring passenger safety.
“After completing the training course, they can apply to sit for the theoretical exam and the driving test to get a licence,” Mr Sreng said. “Therefore, we invite tuk-tuk and auto rickshaw drivers to cooperate with us and participate in the training.”
After the two-month period, authorities will strictly enforce traffic laws, he noted.
Over the last few years, ride-hailing services using tuk-tuk and Indian-made auto rickshaws have become very popular in the capital, affecting the business of traditional tuk-tuk drivers.
On January 22, Mr Sreng held a meeting to solve issues related to ride-hailing taxi services, including the need for all the drivers to have a driving license, identification cards and proper vehicle number plates to ensure the safety of their customers.
He said the drivers should also obey traffic laws at all times.
The Transportation Department posted on its Facebook page yesterday that on Saturday 145 tuk-tuk and auto rickshaw drivers attended the training course on its first day.
Luy Lavy, marketing general manager for the ride-hailing PassApp, yesterday said the company has encouraged its drivers to attend the training course and get licences.
“We allow 50 to 60 drivers per session to attend the free training course,” he said. “We want our drivers to get their licences before the authorities strictly enforce the laws.”
So Pheavy, 45, a Phnom Penh resident, yesterday said that demand for Indian-made auto rickshaw drivers is rising because passengers can view the trip price and order a ride via their phones.
“The price per kilometre is already set for ride-hailing services unlike some traditional tuk-tuk drivers who set very high prices and force us to bargain,” she said.
Ms Pheavy noted that some ride-hailing tuk-tuk and auto rickshaw drivers do not know traffic laws and often overtake dangerously on the road.
Ou Sopheap, 35, an auto rickshaw driver, yesterday said that not all drivers disobey traffic laws and noted that he would attend the training course.
“It is very good that the training is free so I will go to learn,” he said. “The ride-hailing service helps me to earn up to $25 per day.”
Vorn Pov, Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association president, yesterday said the course is long overdue.
He noted that some Facebook users recently posted photos of ride-hailing App drivers breaking road rules by overtaking dangerously and driving in the wrong direction, prompting City Hall to offer the free training course.
“Recently, Facebook users took photos of them driving recklessly,” he said. “So the course is very useful for these drivers, especially traditional tuk-tuk drivers who want to register with ride-hailing services to gain income.”