Crossing Cambodia

Monday, August 11, 2008

Chasing Cars post election style

With the dust of the national election having settled down and washed away by the monsoonal rains towards the South China seas, one would expect all to be back to business as usual: enforcing the traffic law by using an intricate system of fines. Dream on!
  • Cambodia Life, a free Khmer / English / Japanese magazine, mentions in it's latest issue (vol 2, issue 15) amongst others ('Preah Vihear Temple Temporary Closed') the arrival of a brand new metered taxi firm in Phnom Penh.
    'Global Taxi has agreed a 20 year contract that will eventually see up to 300 taxis serving the Kingdom's capital. 12 taxis will arrive on the streets straight away, with 48 more to be introduced later this year.
    high ranking Phnom Penh Govenor Kep Chuktema said "the presence of the meter is proof that Phnom Penh has improved" '.
    Does that mean the opposite equally applies? That the many taxi companies, who have failed in the past, are proof that Phnom Penh is not improving?
    Anyway the company took out a page size ad, so maybe it's just useless company profiling.
    Why would they call the company Global Taxi?
  • Khmer 440 have more on discussion on the (same?) metered taxi's. The discussion seems to move away from the main subject blaming tuk-tuk's ('They cram up the streets, block or take all the good car parks around all the major markets and the riverside') and Lexus driving general's wife's (and daughters) for causing all of Phnom Penh's traffic woes ('please start making generals wives take Lexus lessons, they are the scariest shit on the roads'). Pax though does have an actual experience to relate:
    'I took one the other day at the suggestion of a Cambodian shophand on how to get my tv back to my place. Brand new clean car, sober driver, full blast cold air condition, cost me 2.25 from Psar Themei to far Toul Kork. I thought it was great. The time meter only stops if your not moving at all, so even in slow traffic you aren't getting charged for the time'.
    So who knows, they might be onto something?
  • Changes to traveling in Cambodia. The notorious Siem Reap - Thai border road, despite some upgrading, has seen it's usual monsoon troubles:
    'In April, dry season, I took 2 1/4 hours to do the whole stretch. Record time for me. The last 50km from Sisophon to Poipet are nearly completely paved. Since the rains have started it's taken friends between 3 and 6 hours'.
    Thanx Sunsan on Khmer 440.
    Meanwhile on the developments on the Koh Kong - Sihanoukville sector. Henning Wessel (on ToA) reports:
    'The regular daily boat service has been discontinued between Sihanoukville and Koh Kong (it now stops in Koh Sdach, about half the distance. Careful, it's an island, onward travel is up to the individual). The operator has succumbed to the stiff competition posed by bus companies that have begun service on the road since the last bridge has been opened and the bad weather on the coast. He also said the boat would be available for charter and I wouldn't at all be surprised if it recommences in the high and dry season at an inflated price as a tourist attraction'. Well, we'll just have to get used to inflation or take a bus. I always thought traveling via Koh Kong was a rip-off.
  • While the debate rages here on the merits / demerits of the various 'so-called' transport systems in Phnom Penh, the citizens of the City of Angels (Krung Thep) are profiting from their free rides. However, The Nation reports complaints about waiting times and packed buses (naturally if there are free).
    'Other issues involved dangerous driving and the risk of groping, pickpockets and fights between rival vocational students'.
    Well, thank god we won't have any of that over here!
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