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[January 09, 2013]
Cambodia prepares to conserve disappearing cyclos
PHNOM PENH, Jan 09, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Cambodia is preparing to conserve the capital's disappearing cyclos or rickshaws, which used to be a popular means of transport during the French colonial rule about 80 years ago.
Cyclo is a three-wheeled bicycle with the driver perched on high above the rear wheel, and the passengers in a bucket seat slung between the two front wheels.
"If we look back to the old time when Cambodia was ruled by French, there were thousands of cyclos in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, but now there are only about 500 cyclos," Tourism Minister Thong Khon said Wednesday at a meeting with the Phnom Penh municipal officials and representatives of the Cyclo Conservation and Careers Association.
He said the gradual disappearance of cyclos was due to the rise in taxi and motorized rickshaws.
"As the economy is growing, and people's living conditions are better, people choose to travel by a modern and faster means of transport, rather than cyclos," he said.
However, the minister said it was very important to conserve the means of transport in old times.
"We have to conserve cyclos, it will be a way to attract foreign tourists," he said, adding that tourists can ride cyclos for sightseeing tours in the city.
Thong Khon said that through the conservation plan, the ministry will help the Cyclo Conservation and Careers Association as much as possible, especially through providing English training for cyclo drivers.
Im Sambath, heads of the association, said that the decline in cyclos was because drivers cannot earn enough money to support themselves as people prefer modern transports to cyclos.
Generally, a cyclo operator earns between 2 and 5 U.S. dollars a day.
The conservation plan is made after Prime Minister Hun Sen voiced concerns over the decline in cyclo number last month.
"Right now, we are concerned about losing the cyclos," he said.
"When means of transport becomes modern, nobody pays attention to cyclos."
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