Phnom Penh to See Cambodia's First Skytrain, Are You Ready?
When the long-suffering commuters in Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams first heard that a skytrain was to be built in their city, they weren’t the only ones to cheer – property developers and land owners also had reason to rejoice.
Now, with Phnom Penh’s road traffic getting worse by the day, the news that a skytrain will be built in the capital city is having a similar effect on those who have a daily battle on congested streets.
During an official visit between Cambodian Minister Hor Namhong and Japanese Minister Keiichi Ishii, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and the Tourism Minister in charge of the Water Cycle Policy of Japan on May 5, an agreement was reached for an investment of $800 million from Japan to develop the first automated light railway in Phnom Penh.
Called the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) line, the proposed electric skytrain would include more than ten stations and have a train capacity of a 3-car train to accommodate 330 people.
The targeted rail system corridors, which would connect to the Phnom Penh airport, would see the south-north corridor pass through Monivong Boulevard; the east-west corridor pass through Russian Blvd while the Southwest Corridor would pass through Monireth Blvd.
With traffic congestion on the rise, Institute for Road Safety Director Ear Chariya said the creation of efficient public transport in Phnom Penh was long overdue.
Chariya added that the creation of a railway system, elevated or not, would encourage the use of public transport, thus reducing reliance on cars, and in time, could even reduce emissions as a result of less people using their own private vehicles.
Meanwhile, leading personalities in the property sector welcomed the news as a sign of rising investor confidence in the bustling Khmer capital.
“When a city experiences major infrastructural developments such as this one, it increases the confidence of investors significantly,” said Sorn Seap, chief executive of property consultancy Key Real Estate.
Sorn also added, “And this will push the real estate sector upwards – to be stronger and more sustainable into the future. It affirms that the country is proactively looking into the future – as opposed to reactively adjusting to issues as they arise.”
“When an investor arrives in Phnom Penh and is stuck in the traffic on the way to the centre, it affects their perception of the country significantly. A sky train will offer both citizens and investors easy access to the city and, hopefully, put Phnom Penh in a better light for prospectors,” Easy Property Investment CEO Mam Sereypanha told Khmer Times.
Seng Sambath, a well-travelled resident of Phnom Penh, said, “I have visited many countries in Asia, such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, and I always wondered if Cambodia will see the same infrastructural development.
“Now that this project has finally been announced, I feel very excited and positive about my country,” Seng told Khmer Times.
Aside from the skytrain project, Cambodia has also achieved other infrastructure improvement agreements with Japan in recent times. These include the Residential Management Policy, the City Development Plan and the City Management Plan.