City Hall has called for PassApp rickshaw drivers and the company to negotiate a solution after 300 drivers held yet another protest to demand the company drop plans to cut charges for trips and also submitted a petition.
About 300 drivers yesterday held a third protest in front of PassApp’s office in Russey Keo district’s Tuol Sangke II commune and, for the first time, submitted a petition to the company asking it to maintain the minimum fare of about $0.30 and not reduced it as planned to $0.25.
Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng, accompanied by Russey Keo District Governor Chea Pisey, observed the protest yesterday and called on both sides to negotiate.
“We suggest that both sides negotiate to find a solution peacefully,” Mr Sreng said. “And to the drivers, please continue to operate business as usual.”
Luy Lavy, a PassApp marketing representative, said the company is ready to negotiate. However, he said that it would take time and suggested that relevant ministries set a fare limit for all ride hailing services for a fair competition.
“To avoid price competition among all companies, PassApp Company suggests that all relevant ministries help to set a price limit for all companies,” Mr Lavy said.
He explained that the company does not want to reduce the fare charges but has to do so because of competition from other ride hailing services, noting that many competitors are promoting lower fares and PassApp will lose customers if it does not follow suit.
“Customers are flocking to other ride hailing services with cheaper fares and promotions, so PassApp must also decrease the fare charges,” he said.
Chhim Rasmey, 35, a driver, yesterday said that drivers could previously earn between $20 and $30.
“Sometimes now we can only earn $10 per day, which we have to spend on gasoline and other expenses, so it’s not enough to support our living expenses,” he said. “Now at 1,200 riel (about $0.30) per kilometre, it’s already a low fare.”
“Drivers and customers have accepted the current fare but now the company wants to decrease it, which drivers cannot accept,” he added.
Another driver Sam Mom, 24, said that in Phnom Penh traffic nowadays, drivers can spend a lot, especially for long trips.
“Sometimes we drive for 10 to 15 kilometres, and we need to spend a lot of time on the road due to the traffic jam, but we only get 10,000 riel (about $2.50),” he said. “This is already very cheap.”