Taxi and bus companies were at the peak of their annual Khmer New Year price hike over the past two days, with some almost doubling their fares as they looked to cash in on a spike in demand from travelers leaving Phnom Penh.
Despite Prime Minister Hun Sen last week urging companies to resist raising the prices of goods and services over the New Year holiday—an annual tradition in itself—taxi companies raised their prices by anywhere from 10 to more than 100 percent.
Taxi driver Meas Sopheak said over the holiday period, from April 13 to 18, his price to go to Sihanoukville has risen from $90 to $190.
Mr. Sopheak said that despite Mr. Hun Sen’s request, raising prices over the holiday period was just smart business. “No one listens to Hun Sen. Companies do not follow what he says because it is the only time we can make money,” he said.
Sophy Phin, who operates a fleet of four taxis, said finding drivers to meet travel demands over the festive period is a struggle. Mr. Phin said he has to pay drivers extra to get them to work.
“For Khmer New Year, a lot of people go home and stop working. So there are not enough drivers,” he said, adding that the price for the journeys from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap or Sihanoukville has gone up by $10.
Bus companies also put their prices up about 20 to 50 percent in advance of Khmer New Year.
Phnom Penh Sorya Transport increased ticket prices on the Phnom Penh-Siem Reap bus route from $7.25 before the holiday to $8.75 this week. Its Sihanoukville-Phnom Penh ticket has also gone up $1.50, from $7 to $8.50.
Capitol Tours has raised its prices even more. Its Phnom Penh-Siem Reap ticket price increased before the holiday by $2.75, from $6 to $8.75, and its Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville ticket from $5 to $7.50.
styllis@cambodiadaily.com
odom@cambodiadaily.com
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