Crossing Cambodia

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Costs of crossing Cambodia

Well, most long-distance transportation in Cambodia seems to be somehow regulated. The case of which buses are allowed to ply the city centre for instance, a Crossing Cambodia blog of a few days back. Another case in mind refers to the Tales of Asia blog of January 12:
'I think I mentioned a month or two ago that the transport situation out of Poipet had gone completely to crap. It's still going on. I'm hearing continued reports of tourists being followed, hassled, and bullied by the taxi touts in Poipet into paying $60 to $70 for a taxi to Siem Reap, with every dollar over $40 going into these guy's pockets'.

Poipet is the border crossing between Bangkok and Siem Reap, home of the Angkor Wat. Public transport from Bangkok to the border is widely available and price-worthy. However cross over into Cambodia and the situation changes. No alternatives to taxi's which ply this stretch of 'highway', one sometimes doubt weather the highway has potholes or the potholes has a highway going through. The normal charge is 20-25 US$, but since the latest rainy season charges for foreigners have been adjusted. Where is the money going?

At the same time you could fly which with these prices is increasingly becoming a bargain. However due to some unmentioned deal there is just 1 airline flying between Bangkok and Phnom Penh ultimately leading to over pricing. The current one way price is 110 $US, the same airline offers prices of 70 $US for the longer distance to Phnom Penh, where it is 1 of the 3 airlines flying this stretch.

Well, coastal resort Sihanoukville has now received an upgraded airport, open to business, according to the Cambodia Daily (16-01-2007), the full article is with KI Media. PMT a local airline will start operations:

PMT Air will operate three flights a week between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, though a final decision has not yet been made on ticket prices, Sar Sareth (PMT director) said.

PMT Air is best known for its flights from Phnom Penh to Ratanakkiri province, a route on which the company has had occasional mishaps.

But what is even more striking is :

'(PMT) announced a significant ticket hike and two-tier pricing, which saw non-Cambodian passengers charged significantly more than locals.
Officially this has not be sanctioned by the government so how can they get away with it? Lack of competion.

Further on in the article something that might interest readers:
'SCA (the company running the new airport) hopes that runway expansion will also make it possible to land much larger Boeing 737s'.

Crossing Cambodia always thought that the air business was an exact science! So why the 'hope'?

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