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Cambodian capital gets 1st public buses in decade

February 5, 2014

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — People in Cambodia’s capital boarded city buses Wednesday for the first time in over a decade, as authorities introduced a public transportation system aimed at relieving traffic jams.

Phnom Penh launched the one-month pilot program with 10 air-conditioned buses traveling a single route with 36 stops through the city center.

If the program is successful, more buses and routes will be added, said Koeut Chhe, a senior City Hall official.

The last time Phnom Penh had public buses was for a brief period in 2001, but the service was canceled after two months due to a lack of interest from the motorbike-riding public.

Currently, the city of roughly 1.5 million people has about 1.5 million motorbikes and more than 30,000 cars clogging its roads, Koeut Chhe said.

“We want to change the attitude of Cambodian people and convince people to use public transportation,” he said.

Both the current and earlier bus programs were funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which helps development projects in Cambodia.

Tickets cost a flat rate of 1,500 riel (35 cents), about one-third the cost of a motorbike taxi for the full route.

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