Phnom Penh: Riding Through Waters

As more and more modern developments rise in Phnom Penh, the issue of city space and how to move around pops up even more frequently. And while, high-rise buildings have become a staple in the capital, it still has not managed to help ease the traffic woes in the area. Since the government has had enough of this situation, they are now looking to use some space that has not been used for almost a decade — particularly, space that’s filled with water.

So, what exactly has the government done and is planning to do with the vast water space? You might be surprised about what you are going to read next.

Traffic

Just recently the City Hall of Phnom Penh has taken steps to manage the increasing traffic in the area. There’s stricter enforcement on unpermitted road work by development companies to prevent damage that could cause heavy traffic. They’ve also installed roughly 600 new surveillance cameras and around 60 traffic lights along major roads in the capital to reduce  possible traffic jams.

But additionally, Phnom Penh ’s waters have also been boiling long enough and has been ready for the government to cook something up with it. And the City Hall isn’t taking this to waste. That’s why, with the help of the LYP Group — a company owned by CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat — they’re looking to revive the waterway passenger transportation system through the usage of water taxis to help ease the traffic situation in the capital.

Transport

Once the LYP group delivers a comprehensive study on the impact the water taxis will have on floating villages and determines that it won’t cause any harm, the $22-million project will be set to launch in early 2018.

In a recent interview with the Khmer Times, the director of the capital’s public work and transport department, Saing Piseth, explained that the proposed route will cover 9 service stations across 25 kilometers of waterway. It will include locations from the Prek Phnov bridge all the way to to Takhmao City in the Kandal province. The water taxis will run via the Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassac rivers for this.

A senior advisor to the government’s Supreme Economic Council, Mey Kalyan, also explained that utilizing the waterways would greatly improve logistics and connectivity in Cambodia. He added that the service will benefit the economy by lowering transportation costs across various industries.

The project will produce around 20 boats that will travel at an estimated 30km per hour, carrying up to 90 passengers each trip. Once completely functional, it is proposed to run from 6am to 8pm each day.

Tourism

More than easing traffic and providing a more efficient transport system, the water taxis will also help the tourism sector.

Despite plans being laid out, there is still uncertainty that comes along with this project — just like in any other project. But one thing remains certain. And that’s the opportunities this will provide for various individuals and companies across different industries. And whether or not the success will satisfy the high hopes of people, this still remains to be a step forward towards Phnom Penh’s growth.

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