Crossing Cambodia

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chasing cars, October 26 2009

Again a lot nonsensical news on Cambodia's roads and traffic in general:
  • Probably the most extensive coverage is reserved for who is allowed to fly within the country. The government seems intent on allowing their own airline (um, actually the airline of Vietnam Airlines) to be the sole operator by throwing up all kind regulations to which it's competitors fail to comply, only for the same to apply for it's own airline! The tourist is left stranded, but who cares? the headlines:
    'Tourism head calls for government to support airlines' (21 Oct.), 'Regulator to write for SRA permit' (22 Oct.) and
    'International aviation to
    review' (23 Oct).
  • More airline info:
    'New routes to be added'.
    All new routes
    are from Siem Reap to Korea.
    Then the Airport in Sihanoukville is scheduled to open according to
    KI Media. In the report the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) Secretary of State Mao Havannal had the following to add on the subject above:
    'According to Mao Havannal, Siem Reap Airways may be unable to fly from the airport as it has not registered any planes in Cambodia, a requirement for domestic operators to receive an Air Operator Certificate (AOC). “I don’t know for sure if Siem Reap Airways will be able to fly or not” said Mao Havannal. “It depends on the airline because we have already confirmed with them that if they want to resume their operations, they need to register an airplane [in Cambodia]. “It already completely complies with SSCA requirements and has satisfied concerns over its operations.”'
    Weird that the Cambodia Angkor Airways can fly while it also has failed to comply with this regulation.
  • Good news for the bus masochists, Laos is planning buses to ply from Pakse to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
    'According to officials, the Pakxe Public Bus Association has been given permission by the Lao government to provide a bus service to Cambodia . The association planned to provide buses from Vientiane to the southern Lao province of Champassak , and on to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia , they said.'
    That means you will soon be able to take the bus to Jinghong, China with just two changes of bus, in Pakse and in Vientiane. Time 3 days and nites?

What's wrong here? Cambo authorities are lacking funds to have simpel signboards.
So they get them sponsored. But then the signboards turn into advertising bill boards.
Then if you click on the photo for detail you see how poorly the directions are given.
No design standard is used and even the opposing traffic lanes are to be used.
Going straight can on the lanes left and right
while the center lane (of a 2 lane road) is to be used to turn right.

  • In Cambodia though buses are to be regulated:
    'would require that companies hire two drivers per bus, and that the drivers switch off every 150 kilometres to avoid fatigue-related accidents'.
    The bus company replies:
    'Chan Sophanna, general manager of Phnom Penh Sorya Transportation, said he welcomed the effort to improve road safety but said the cost of two drivers would be too high. He went on to defend bus drivers who had been involved in road accidents, blaming them on “careless pedestrians” who walked into traffic without looking. The drivers, he added, needed to flee the scene in many cases to avoid retribution at the hands of onlookers'.
    Blame the victims.
  • The Phnom Penh Post has some pointers on how to establish and manage a Cambodian bus company:
    'Don’t lose sight of the small things. You can hire people to sweet-talk tourists into foregoing the money exchange booth at the border in order to rip them off at the bus station. Any day when you can convince a na├»ve Chinese teenager that he should change $50-worth of Thai baht into riel for an abysmal rate is a small victory.
    Once customers have purchased their exorbitantly priced tickets and gotten on your decrepit bus, it’s time to let the good times roll. What, in theory, would be a three-hour ride should be lengthened, with a minimum of four stops at shabby restaurants so your fares can purchase plates of oily fried rice for two dollars a pop'.
  • In Lao they have a new solution to easing higher traffic accident rates:
    'Luang Prabang province will be the second province in Laos to launch a project to prohibit secondary school students from riding motorbikes to school.
    The project aims to help reduce road accidents and traffic, saving family expenditure and protecting the environment'.
The Cambo solution: shelve the moto and the bike.
Post Ketsana use the boat to get to school.
Original from

  • An ongoing issue, are victims allowed to punch up police?
    'Kampot rovincial police have arrested four Chinese construction workers on suspicion of assaulting two Cambodian traffic police following a traffic dispute on Sunday'.
    'When contacted on Wednesday, one company representative denied that the arrests had taken place, claiming the workers had merely been summoned for questioning. “They did not arrest people. They just asked them to court for some information,” said Shu Jiang, the deputy managing director of Sinohydro'.
    The answer is if you have good backers, sure go ahead.
  • 'Road deaths rise moderately'.
    That's according to the Ministery of Interior. Though they acknowledge that there may be some differences with other statistics, most notably the RTAVIS. This databank uses the Ministries figures and the Ministry is a partner. It begs the question why there may be a difference ....?
  • More indepth knowledge on how the police works, thanx to EAS. And revealing that the police are using their speedguns:
    'noticed the police had a new 'speed gun' and were pointing it at everyone. Well, the police 100 m onwards, they were aggressively flagging down every old vehicle (never Lexus or Land Crusers) and ours was one.
    the police only emboldened the police to press charges against him--trumped up. They say they clocked him going 57 in a 55 km/hr speed. Then when they checked his license, they showed it was paper and not plastic (who knows what was right?). [a.: obviously the police do] ... I noticed at least 25 cars flagged down to the similar marked 'lane' where everyone simply handed out some notes and went on'.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chasing Cars, October 15 2009

Not much to mention. Seems nothing worthwhile is happening maybe it's just me getting jaded. Oh yeah I could celebrate this being four years of blogging, having nearly 10,000 visitors or this being the 376th posting. But I won't.

  • My only competitor in this blogging world, the Road Safety Awareness blog, increasingly focus on reporting accident reports and pics from Khmer language newspapers. That might be a good lifelong strategy, no shortage of those. I, for one are going to call it quits after 5 years and then wait for history to catch up with the uniqueness of this blog ...
  • Road repairs in action in Siem Reap reported by Cambodia Calling. Since the great flood of the town the roadworks would have been futile anyway. Why is her site also not coming with new blog entries?
  • The Cambodian skies are abuzz with confusing static. Story goes as follows: SRA, daughter comapny of BKK Air flies the only national route. Loses license temporarily last year, BKK Air takes over. CAA created, owned by the gov., starts flying, making lots of loses. BKK Air told to take a hike. Announces return of SRA, but gov. has doubts. To be continued.
  • As well as the opening of already finished airport.
    'State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) Secretary of State Mao Havannal said Tuesday that long-awaited upgrades to the coastal resort’s sole airport had been completed by Societe Concessionnaire des Aeroports (SCA), which also operates airports in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. “I went to check all the technical equipment last Friday,” he said. “Everything is in place and complies with international standards.”'
    So if something goes wrong, we know to blame!
  • Toll roads exist.
    'Local representative Van Savy said that seven illegal checkpoints were operating along the 15 kilometres of road passing through the district. “Each checkpoint will demand five or six thousand riels from anyone transporting firewood or charcoal,” he said, adding that the “tolls” were especially tough on the area’s mostly poor residents.
    These men aren’t confiscating illegal goods or stopping crimes'.
    Is deforesting the forests not a crime?
  • Above report refuted!
    'District Deputy Governor Ham Sam Ang dismissed residents’ claims, saying rumours of illegal checkpoints were baseless. “I went to a place last week that supposedly had illegal checkpoints, but I didn’t see anything,” he said'.
    But the question was whether he driving a moto packed with charcoal?
  • 'Workers' [whose not a worker?] in Kampot have the solution to police checks.
    'Phlang Phearin, the Kampot provincial police chief, said Tuesday that a fight broke out when the two traffic police stopped a truck carrying Chinese workers from the Kamchay hydropower dam in the province’s Teuk Chhou district. After phoning more workers, the police were beaten up and the suspects fled, he said.
    Shu Jiang, Sinohydro’s deputy managing director, admitted workers from his company had been involved in the incident but said there was probably more to the story.
    “My workers attacked the policemen, but there was some reason, I think,” he said. “I don’t know – maybe the police asked for money, and the workers didn’t want to give it.”
  • Though it's well known that you now need a helmet, mirrors and wear a seatbelt, did you know that drunk driving and speeding is also being cracked down on?
    'In Phnom Penh alone, between August and October, 1,172 drivers were caught speeding, and 682 were caught driving under the influence of alcohol, official data show'.
    Between August and October means September? But aside from that how on earth has this taken place without anybody experiencing this?
  • Lots of news on the capsizing of a 'ferry', though in actuality what's meant is a larger boat used for cross-river transport. Seventeen died. Sit.:
    'crammed onto the 8-metre-long boat.
    Roughly 30 passengers were thought to be on the ferry, which officials
    said was made to carry 20 people, when it sank in heavy rain Saturday night after those on board panicked.
    Blame for the ferry disaster has been liberally thrown around. An employee of the boat owner who survived the sinking previously said that passengers insisted on cramming onto the 8-metre-long vessel Saturday evening, even though it was clearly overloaded. Cambodian ferry operators had previously been ordered to equip their vessels with safety equipment, such as life vests, said Ung Chun Huor, director general in the Transportation Department at the Ministry of Public Works. Implementation, however, is another matter'.
    So is doing your work.
  • Let's focus on the poor forum moderator of Expat Advisory Services. He makes a tirade about poor parking. Though he virtually could have mentioned any successful bizniz in town, instead he decided to take on just one or two. Unfortunately they are verbally able to defend themseleves and he now finds himself in a pickle.
    'Bloody Hell'
    He mentions two schools, picks on one, because his daughter goes to the other.
  • Subtitle to the photo below (original from AFP):
    'A fleet of cyclo drivers transport Buddhist paraphernalia, somewhat precariously, for sale at a market in Phnom Penh on Wednesday'.
    Is this description not condescending to Budhist religion?
  • And for something different. All theme press guys complaining about us ripping off their rags. Vuthasurf finds his blog entry on the front page with no reference, let alone some compo. Then totally unrelated he has blog entries on how hard it is to make money from blogs in Cambodia .. Now why didn't he shake the tree first?
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