The Phnom Penh Municipality is asking for more city buses from the Chinese and Japanese governments to expand public transport to 10 routes in the capital, City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said yesterday.
Mr. Dimanche said City Hall is working with the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to prepare the requests.
It will ask China to donate 100 new buses and for the Japanese government to provide 180, he said.
Mr. Dimanche said the requests would be for new buses rather than used ones, but said he did not know how many would be obtained. “We just found out that we got the green light from Japan that they will donate. That’s why we are making [formal] requests,” Mr. Dimanche said.
He said that the new buses would allow City Hall to open more routes and reduce congestion along major streets. “We plan to open more routes soon,” he said.
According to Mr. Dimanche, there are only 50 buses running on three routes in Phnom Penh.
Ear Chakriya, a traffic-safety analyst, welcomed the news that public transportation might be expanding. “The expansion of public buses in Phnom Penh is necessary to reduce traffic jams and accidents,” he said.
Mr. Chakriya said that while the bus service is not widely used yet, expanding coverage will encourage more city residents to use buses. “Public transportation is not popular yet because the service does not cover all places,” he said.
He also urged City Hall to end disorderly parking and sidewalk use in order to improve traffic flow, and called for more parking lots near bus stations.
JICA representative Yuko Tokura said talks with the municipality were still underway.