Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Chasing Cars, Cambodian Style 5 March 2008

Most updates are just morsels found in other (blog) sites:
  • Expat Advisory Services dishes this out:
    'Commenting on increasing traffic burdens, Dr. [Gavin, who 'has lived in Cambodia for 15 years'] Scott is puzzled by the apparent lack of urban planning, "prestige projects will congest the streets with traffic and sewage. Immediate acquisition of status and money take precedence over long term planning".'
  • Cambodia Calling has a posting on roughly the same theme as highlighted last week on this site:
    'No Public Transport. Why is there no public transport within towns in Cambodia? Not even in the capital Phnom Penh. There cannot be many cities the size of Phnom Penh without public transport. ... It's probably harder than it seems to get a public transport system right and people the world over complain about their country's public transport. But we have to start somewhere'.
  • Cambodia Calling also mentions Stan Kahn who has a number of passionate plea's for different attitudes to traffic over on Khmer 440. According to that site he now has put up shop in Kampot. Relevance?
    'Meanwhile the train should be running again this August. It won't be as fast as the taxi but it will be a pleasure'.
    Don't count too much on it!
  • More trains on this comment from (DaS) to a link from here which was originally a link to another web-site, which was a translation of , etc., etc. :
    'I rode the train two weeks ago.
    From Phnom Penh there’s only one active line, to Battambang. It leaves every Saturday morning at 6:20 am.
    I wanted to go to B’Bang but boredom made me get off in Pursat. Nice little town to spend an afternoon.
    Besides wood I didn’t see much cargo, and although all seats were taken (two cars) it was hardly crowded. No wonder, it’s unreliable, slow and relatively expensive. It was cool though to see how a heap of wood was loaded from a bamboo train onto and into the last passenger car, while on the move. I wanted to take pictures, but one of four train conductors said no. I wonder why…'
  • More on public transport. The Mirror (Vol. 12, No. 550) publishes an article from Neak Cheat Niyum. Apprarently the ban on big buses in the city center is back on, but only from the end of this year:
    'To solve the problems of daily traffic congestions in Phnom Penh due to the growth of the population and the increasing number of vehicles, the governor of Phnom Penh, Mr. Kep Chuk Tema issued a strict announcement: to prohibit large passenger buses from operating on the roads of Phnom Penh by the end of 2008'.
    To solve the problem, buses will halt near the city perimeter, however no mention is made of how passengers would then get to their final destination. Has the municipality ever thought of setting up a bus station?

    On another note, the municipality also stressed the following:
    'In particular, the disrespect of traffic laws is one of the main causes of traffic congestions'.
    Despite this long overdue admission, there may be new ones lurking.

    Yesterday I travelled down Monivong at 4 in the afternoon, but it was far from smooth; KFC have opened their first chicken bar and the clientiele apparently prefer to come by car, but KFC or their local reps (read investors) never thought about where their clients would need to park their cars. Just block the road! Increasingly, succesful businesses (as well as expanding markets) such as Mobitel and Lucky's supermarket are encroaching public roads to use for the clients who are allowed to park, double even triple park their cars. Can't the municipality do something with this?
  • Kampuchea Crossings highlight an Asialife March 2008 article (not available online) on probably Cambodia's one and only female moto-dup driver.
    'When she attempted to work in the nearby areas she found that fellow Khmers – even the women – were more comfortable taking the traditional male motodup than going with her. Because foreigners are open to the idea of a female driving a mototaxi she is able to get more business there'.
    It's a very good article and gives an insiders view of Khmer women taking up 'male' professions and the strength of single mothers in face of adversity.
  • More background on the expressway to Phnom Penh from Can Tho. Mystified, so is Crossing Cambodia and the Cambodian government as well:
    'Kem Borey [director of the Transport Ministry's Road Infrastructure Department] said the highway will run from Can Tho, through An Giang province before the final stretch of approximately 120 km from the border to Phnom Penh. He added that the final route of this last stretch has not been finalized but would either follow National Road 2 through Takeo province, National Road 21 through Takeo province, or comprise a new road traversing Kampot province'.
  • Softening the Khmer from the other side is Thailand:
    'After having met with Cambodian Leader Hun Sen, Mr. Samak said Thailand’s assistance to Cambodia would be beneficial to both countries, especially the highway 68 construction project with an additional budget on top of the 1.4 billion baht (US$43.7 million) already allocated.

    The road will connect Thailand’s Surin province to Cambodia’s Siem Reap, and seen as an opportunity to boost the tourism industry in the region'.
  • KI Media highlight a photo reportage (from the bureau's of AP) on the height of the petrol price in Cambodia. Oddly though, the price they mention is 4,600 riel, which is the amount charged at the petrol pump not at the road stalls which are the subject of all the photo's; petrol at these stalls is still less than 4,000 riel!
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