A waterway passenger transport service via the Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassac rivers will be launched next year, bringing hopes of eased traffic congestion in Phnom Penh and providing a new option for tourists.
The project – called Water Taxi Service – is estimated to cost $22 million and will be run by City Hall, according to a Tuesday meeting chaired by Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong.
Saing Piseth, director of the capital’s public works and transport department, said the service will run on 25 kilometres of waterway from the Prek Phnov bridge on the northern outskirts of Phnom Penh south to Takhmao City in Kandal province via the Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassac rivers.
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, said yesterday that the new waterway passenger transport service would add to options now available in the transportation sector, bringing a convenient option to both passengers and tourists.
“Once operational, passengers and tourists can go sightseeing along the riverbanks. It’s another move to encourage tourists to visit the city,” he said.
“We have only a train service and if we have waterway transportation, tourists will have more options, not just for transport but also sightseeing.”
The project will reopen waterway passenger transportation which operated in the 2000s from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and from Phnom Penh to Kratie and Stung Treng provinces, Mr. Vandy added.
“Travel agencies will be happy to see Phnom Penh have waterway transport so they have another option to provide tourists,” Mr. Vandy said.
As planned, 20 passenger boats will be used for the service, running four times daily. Each boat can carry up to 90 passengers and travel at a maximum 30 kilometres per hour, according to Mr. Piseth.
There will be nine water-taxi service stations on the waterway, he said.
Mey Kalyan, a senior advisor to the government’s Supreme Economic Council, said previously that using waterways for transport would improve connectivity in a country that has many logistical shortcomings.
The service would be beneficial economically for the government as it would cut transportation costs for various industries, he added.
The project to use the capital’s waterways for transportation was announced by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport late last year.
Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said that waterway passenger transportation would ease traffic congestion, not only for passengers but also for cargo transit via the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers.