Metered tuk-tuks are taking on taxis and other vehicles for hire in Phnom Penh. Up to recently, the fares were normally decided on by negotiation, with customers often left feeling they had been overcharged.
The Cambodian capital saw a commercial fleet of three-wheeled tuk-tuks launched earlier this year by a company called EZ Go where users pay by meter only.
The Phnom Penh Post reports that this system does away with the need to bargain with drivers. Tourists in particular often complain that they were ripped off.
EZ Go owner Top Nimol said he was confident their prices were low for their customers. It also removed the feeling that they were being cheated as the fares were based on distance and not time stuck in traffic.
The owners of the tuk-tuks give its drivers the choice of working on a salary basis or else renting the three-wheelers for $7 a day. If on salaries, they are also offered bonus incentives once they pass an agreed rate of passenger pick-ups
EZ Go has set fares for the first kilometre at 3000 riel and subsequently 360 riel for every added 300 metres. This rate makes prices much more attractive to taxis or other tuk-tuks.
Although it is only a small insertion into the city’s massive motors for hire industry, the emergence of the metered-tuk-tuks has put pricing pressure on their rivals.
The leader of the largest tuk-tuk association says he is both worried and intrigued by the concept surrounding the new scheme.