BANGKOK, June 15 – Thailand and Cambodia on Thursday launched direct bus services linking Bangkok and Phnom Penh via the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border crossing, aiming to cut transportation costs.
Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan and Cambodian Public Works and Transport Minister Tram Iv Tek and representatives of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) co-presided at the official opening of the new service.
Initially, the parties agreed to run 80 border crossing buses and trucks including 30 passenger buses and 10 trucks from Cambodia to Thailand and 10 passenger buses and 30 trucks from Thailand to Cambodia.
The two countries have targeted increasing the number of buses and trucks to 500 per day at a later time.
The new service offers two routes, linking Bangkok and Phnom Penh via Aranyaprathet and the other route connecting Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Poipet, Sisophon.
The two ministers agreed to open a new checkpoint near the Klongluek border check point in Aranyaprathet to reduce traffic congestion and plan to connect Thailand’s Bangkok-Aranyaprathet railway route with Cambodia’s Poipet-Battambang rail line next year to cut transportation costs.
The transport linkages between Thailand and Cambodia are meant to expand to include Vietnamese cities including Ho Chi Minh City in the future.
Suon Vanhong, deputy director of the Transport Department of Cambodia’s Transport Ministry, was quoted by the China’s official Xinhua News Agency as saying that the direct Phnom Penh-Bangkok bus route via Poipet International Checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province is expected to cut travel time between the two capitals.
The Asian Development Bank’s Thailand Resident Mission Director Craig Steffensen said in a press release on Thursday that the ability to move people, goods and vehicles across borders efficiently is at the heart of regional economic integration.
“Today’s launch will reduce logistics costs and facilitate economic growth and social development between Thailand, Cambodia and other Mekong nations,” he said.