According to a report of the Phnom Penh Post, tuk tuk drivers in Cambodia try to fight the arrival of ride-hailing giants Grab and Uber by being incorporated into local apps. Cambodian taxi services have now begun to expand their platforms by incorporating traditional Khmer tuk-tuks as options for rides.
While the move will certainly help maintaining the tuk-tuk sector alive, some local drivers fear that the apps will dent into their already meager salary by taking fees when using the app . Some drivers, when talking to the Phnom Penh Post, indicated to fear lower rates and longer hours, while also feeling the pinch as competition with other mode of transportation intensify.
The Post spoke to eight traditional tuk-tuk drivers in Phnom Penh, most of whom said their incomes had suffered since the rise of ride-hailing apps. They were sceptical about how much money they would be able to keep for themselves even when becoming part of an app.
Locally owned ride-hailing apps have built sizeable traction in recent months with cheap rides on three-wheeler auto-rickshaws, a smaller, metal-framed version of traditional Khmer tuk-tuks. Phnom Penh has seen a surge of the yellow auto rickshaws (imported from India) take to the streets as leading apps PassApp and ExNet have risen in popularity. PassApp and ExNet advantage for travellers are fixed rates for a drive, which then allow not to anymore haggle over rates with drivers.
While some are joining, many tuk tuk drivers still remain cautious, explained the Phnom Penh Post. One tuk tuk driver posted at Sothearos Boulevard and at the Sorya Shopping Centre told the newspaper “I have regular customers, and I can make about $25 a day off of only five rides.My friend who drives the auto-rickshaw, he’s tired. And every ride is so cheap.”
Autorickshaw fares on PassApp and ExNet are typically under $2. PassApp takes a cut of 13 percent, or about 500 riel per dollar, while ExNet takes $0.25 plus 10 percent.
(Source: The Phnom Penh Post)