Rapid urbanization and increased of motorization have resulted in congestion and pollution that requires the need for a shift towards the use of more sustainable transportation mode like public transportation. In most major cities of developing countries, traffic congestion and air pollution have been observed to be associated with the operation of informal transportation and huge number of private vehicles uses, and there is no exception to Phnom Penh. Since public transport such as buses and subways is not well developed in the city, paratransit, such as motor taxis and auto rickshaws is the main mode of travel. In order to deal with serious traffic congestion, city bus was introduced in 2014, expecting to reduce the number of vehicles commuting on the roads. However, this initiative has not been successful since paratransit is still the most preferred mode for travellers though the trip fare of city bus is relatively cheap. The purpose of this study is to provide insights about the influence of paratransit in application of city bus policies and also explain the reasons why travellers do not prefer to use public bus services for commuting. The research method is a mixed strategy of using survey and semi-structured interview. A total number of 335 commuters in Phnom Penh were interviewed to hear their perceptions on the level of service delivery of both public bus and paratransit and particularly the reasons behind non-preference of city bus service. The key informants are users of public bus and paratransit, and experts who involved with public transport improvement project. Major findings and analysis cover four main categories including 1). Differences in perception between public bus and paratransit, 2), Encouraging factors for using public bus, 3). Encouraging factors for using paratransit, and 4). Discouraging factors for using public bus. The study shown that commuters have positive perception on paratransit in terms of its availability, accessibility, reliability and flexibility, while they perceived these characteristics provided by public bus were poor. Nonetheless, commuters were satisfied with public bus when it comes to trip fare, comfortability, safety and driver’s behavior. The study further revealed that students and elderly were in favor of using public bus, while middle age people and wage-paid employees were not satisfied with its services. It was observed that the reasons that travellers do not prefer to use public bus are because of low level of flexibility, reliability and accessibility that resulted in longer travel time, being delayed and especially they still have to use another transportation mode in order to connect with bus service. These three indicators were considered as priority factors that needed to be improved. Public bus quality could be improved by expanding bus routes to sub-urban areas and increasing frequency of bus operation. It is also recommended that law enforcement should be done on on-street parking, illegal use of sidewalks, traffic management and vehicle growth control to enhance the smooth operation of public bus. Finally, awareness campaigns should be highly promoted to spread the information of bus operation networks as well as the necessity of using formal public transportation to reduce the serious traffic congestion.

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Canelles, G. (Genea), Ruijsink, S. (Saskia)
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Sorn, S. (Sopheavatey). (2017, September). The influence of paratransit – informal transportation on public bus policy implementation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/42823