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During crisis, there sometimes are good news. Not that we should rejoice over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On the contrary, this violation of international law must be vigorously condemned as the Cambodian government has done. Moreover, this conflict has triggered a gas price increase and may trigger a world food crisis of which the poorest in the world will be the first victims, as usual.
However, while this is reminding all of us that order is not eternal on this Earth, crisis can lead to unexpected positive changes.
And so, we hear that, according to the municipal authorities, this gasoline price increase has led to an increase in the number of passengers using public transport in Phnom Penh.
We almost feel like saying: Let’s hope this lasts. Less cars and motorcycles in the streets means less traffic jams, less pollution and a better quality of life for all.
Of course, for the use of public transport to continue, it comes down to the municipality to take advantage of this opportunity to improve the network: more lines, more buses and especially more designated lanes so that the buses will not get stuck in the traffic.
One could mention, and rightly so, that the better-offs who are not or hardly affected by the gasoline price increase can continue to travel in the comfort of their own cars while others with more modest means must sacrifice their freedom of movement and make the effort of adapting to the constraints of public transportation.
No matter! The most important thing is to at last have a public transit system worthy of a 21st century capital and whose benefits for users in terms of accessibility, service, comfort and price are at the highest level.
It takes time to achieve this. While one does not want the gasoline prices to stay high too long, let’s hope that this will at least open the eyes of most people and of the authorities on the benefits of public transportation that is good for everyone and good for the community.