Taxi App Uber Officially Launches in Cambodia

One of America’s most exciting and innovative companies, Uber, is finally setting off in the Kingdom! After going through a 2 month-long testing period in Phnom Penh, Uber was officially launched on 28 September 2017 at BOPEA Pub and Studios.

Currently, Uber operates in 600 cities and as of yesterday, Cambodia has become the 78th country in which Uber operates in. With this new launch, Cambodians will now be able to get a safe, reliable and affordable ride simply by pressing a button, as well as provide an avenue to flexibly earn money. For now, those in Phnom Penh will be able to request for rides on UberX, which offers both private cars and taxis.

The first official Uber ride in Cambodia was done during the launch itself
The first official Uber ride in Cambodia was done during the launch itself

Uber’s Asia Pacific Chief Business Officer, Brooks Entwistle, expressed his excitement over this new launch, “We are very excited to launch ridesharing technology in Cambodia; to serve riders,drive partners and the city of Phnom Penh. This launch signifies our outgoing momentum across Southeast Asia.”.  He goes on to mention how forward-thinking the Kingdom has been, being the first country in Asia to implement a dedicated ridesharing framework even before Uber’s ridesharing services were launched.

Sharing the same views, United States Ambassador, William A. Heidt talked about how Uber is going to provide solutions for the systemic problems in the Cambodian transport system. He mentions how Uber can reduce pollution, the wastage of time and money, as well as the need to build additional infrastructure by helping to reduce the number of cars on the road, while still being able to carry more people.

He even added, “The launch is a great example of the private sector working closely with the Cambodian government to embrace new technology.”

Both Entwistle and Heidt also expressed their deep appreciation to the government for collaborating so closely with the company. In response, His Excellency Pheng Sovicheano, Secretary of State, Ministry of Public Works and Transport said, “The Ministry of Public Works and Transport is committed to building a safe, reliable and modern transport system . For that reason, MPWT has been working with Uber for 6 months to explore new “shared mobility” transport systems such as ridesharing.”. He goes on to congratulate Uber and hopes to see their booming success in the Asian region in the near future.

Following this, Uber and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the launch. This was to signify closer collaboration to come using modern technology and “shared mobility” policies to serve the city of Phnom Penh and its people.

The MOU Signing between H.E. Pheng Sovicheano and Uber’s Brooks Entwistle
The MOU Signing between H.E. Pheng Sovicheano and Uber’s Brooks Entwistle

Besides the collaboration with Cambodian government, Uber and Smart Axiata have also initiated a partnership to further benefit Uber’s driver partners, who are part of the 3 main constituents of Uber. Announcements are due to come out in the next few weeks with more details; however as of now, Smart has come up with a unique data plan for drivers, where 0% of data will be used whenever the Uber app is in use. Smart Axiata’s Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Hundt also mentioned how Smart is looking forward to “future collaborations with Uber that will add to (their) range of lifestyle value propositions”, especially with the encouraging smartphone and mobile penetration rates in the country.

So far, the reception towards Uber has been rather positive during its 2-month testing, both for riders and drivers. A fellow Uber driver partner, Mr Pirun Yim, shared, “My daily income because of Uber has increased significantly, and I am happy with it.”. Uber Rider, Mr Ratana Mok also shared the same sentiments, saying, “I like the Uber app – it’s very user friendly. After trying the app for a short while, I am keen to introduce Uber to all my friends.” With this, the future for Uber is definitely looking bright in the Kingdom!

Contented Uber riders and driver partners sharing their positive experiences with the app thus far
Contented Uber riders and driver partners sharing their positive experiences with the app thus far

For more information on Uber, you can visit their website here. Also, to celebrate its debut in Phnom Penh, Uber is offering 10 rides up to $4 till October 15th as long as riders key in the promotional code, ‘UberPPLaunch’ on their Uber App, available in the App Store and Google Play.

IMG_9864