Aiming to avoid a rise in taxi costs, Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged Phnom Penh City Hall to provide free transport to people during the Pchum Ben festival, as was done before Covid-19.
In a voice message on Monday, Hun Sen requested bus companies not to raise fares during the annual festival. Additionally, he urged Phnom Penh City Hall to examine the possibility of providing transport to the provinces in order to prevent a hike in taxi costs.
“Phnom Penh City Hall is allowed to do so in order to assist workers and citizens who wish to travel to their hometowns. So, they can travel while avoiding the rising costs of taxis,” he said.
Although infection risk remains low, monks as well as festival attendees need to maintain health precautions. The pagodas, in particular, must be well-organised with the attention of the authorities and the health sector by carrying out regular checks to avoid infection in places of worship, he said.
“I hope that our people will understand and know how to protect themselves,” the premier said. “Also, I would like to call on authorities at all levels to inspect and safeguard those who visit pagodas and entertainment places during Pchum Ben."
Tang Chenda, a garment worker from Battambang, said she has never used the free transportation provided by Phnom Penh City Hall previously. Nevertheless, she is pleased the Prime Minister has pushed Phnom Penh City to provide transport.
“As I have children, going to Koh Pich and waiting was difficult for me,” she said. “However, free transportation is helpful. As I don’t have money, it helps me to save money on bus fares so that I may buy something for my children. So, I will try.”
In 2019, Phnom Penh City Hall provided 120 buses to enable armed forces members, civil officials, garment workers, students, and the general public to travel to their hometowns in the provinces for free during the Pchum Ben festival.