Phnom Penh yesterday relaunched public bus and boat-taxi services after nearly two years of pandemic-related closure.

Service reopened along limited routes, just five of the capital’s 13 lines, but will gradually increase in coming months, transportation authorities said. Passengers can ride for free until Nov 8.

Riders welcomed the return.

“I used to take the bus for free to visit my son,” said Mean Sary, a retiree who rides for free because he is more than 70 years old. “But when there is no bus, I spend more than 20,000 riels on Pass App.”

Passenger fares will return Monday. There are exceptions for the elderly and disabled, clergy, students, teachers, garment-factory workers and athletes, who are not required to pay. Riders must show vaccination cards, use hand sanitizer, wear face masks, social distance and scan a QR code for the city’s contact-tracing scheme.

Service runs from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“I will take the bus to university now,” said Kong Sovanthorng, a junior at the National University of Management. “I think it’s safe.”