Chinese ‘smart’ buses bring safe, comfortable transport to Cambodia

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/1/8 17:53:39

A Cambodian man gets off one of the buses donated by China to Cambodia prior to a handover ceremony in Phnom Penh on July 1. Photo: IC

Well-equipped with modern technology and air-conditioning, Chinese 'smart' buses are bringing a safe and comfortable traveling option to passengers in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.

Manufactured by Yutong and donated by the Chinese government in July 2017, 98 buses have been put into operation to serve passengers on five out of the eight main lines in the city, attracting hundreds of thousands of passengers each month.

Yutong's sales manager for the Asia & Pacific Division, Jiang Lin, said the buses were designed according to the actual conditions in Phnom Penh, have been equipped with intelligent management systems and air-conditioners, and are capable of carrying 35 seated passengers and 45 standing.

"Phnom Penh experiences both wet and dry seasons with a hot climate, so the buses were manufactured according to these local conditions," he told Xinhua.

Jiang said the buses would help Phnom Penh build a complete public transport system, and would also alleviate traffic congestion while providing the public with a comfortable riding experience.

"The buses have won praise from the Phnom Penh government and the public because of their high quality, comfort and excellent after-sales service," he said.

Through the Yutong intelligent city bus system, the Phnom Penh City Bus Authority (CBA) will be able to monitor in real time the condition of the 98 buses via a computer or a smart phone, he said. He added that the intelligent system has more than 20 functions, such as providing analysis reports on energy-saving potential, oil monitoring, multi-dimensional statistics of faults, supplementing statistics, monthly maintenance schedule of vehicles, and an overview of energy consumption.

"This intelligent system will help Phnom Penh build a modern city bus transport system," he said, adding that Yutong will provide more engineers and technical support to the CBA so that it can build a "smart" bus control center in 2018.

"Undoubtedly, these China-made buses will become more and more popular among Cambodian people and help the Phnom Penh transport system develop rapidly," he said.

Passenger surge

Ean Sokhim, director of the Phnom Penh City Bus Authority, said the "smart" buses had an appealing look and are equipped with advanced technology such as GPS (Global Positioning System) and cameras.

"I used to take the bus to my office, and it's comfortable, equipped with air-conditioning, clean, and easy to use," he said. "In the bus, we can talk on the phone, or play on Facebook."

Sokhim said since the launch of the new buses, more and more people had switched from using their own vehicles to using the city bus service, and even local and foreign tourists also used the buses to go on city tours.

Previously, there were only about 6,000 to 6,500 passengers per day, but since the new buses went into operation, the number of passengers has seen a remarkable increase to between 16,000 and 17,000 per day. Sokhim said, "This truly reflects the strong support and satisfaction from passengers."

The buses start their services every day at 5:30 am and end at 8:30 pm.

Bus driver Sean Sithon, 26, said people began to use the city bus service because it saved money, reduced traffic jams, and was convenient.

"My Line No. 3 attracts a lot of passengers, especially on Saturdays and Sundays," he said, adding that the bus welcomed more than 200 passengers in a single trip, most of whom are students, garment factory workers, and private company employees.

"A passenger pays 1,500 riel ($0.37) for a single trip. However, the bus is free for the elderly, Buddhist monks, disabled persons, students, teachers, and garment factory workers," he said.

Safe option

Seng Voleak, 23, an employee at the Shinhan Khmer Bank, said she rode the city bus twice a month to travel from her home in central Phnom Penh to a taxi station in the western suburbs of the city before catching a taxi to her hometown in southwestern Kampot province.

"It's more than 10 km from my house to the taxi station, and if I ride a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw), the fare is pretty high, between 20,000 riel ($5) and 25,000 riel ($6.25), but riding the bus costs me only 1,500 riel ($0.37)," she said.

"Traveling by bus is safer than by motorcycle or tuk-tuk and saves me money. More importantly, the bus has air-conditioning," she added.

Commuter Sok Rakin, sales manager of Gwang Jin Logistics & Trade (Cambodia), said he regularly travels a distance of 10 km by bus from his house to his office.

"It saves me a lot, and there is no risk, unlike riding a motorcycle where I could have a traffic accident and I'm exposed to the hot sun and dust," he said. "Riding the bus costs very little money, and it's comfortable and safe."

Newspaper headline: Cool Commute

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