Vietnamese bus companies operating on the Ho Chi Minh City-Phnom Penh route complain they are getting the short end of the stick since their Cambodian rivals can buy buses much cheaper and get away with violating road rules, and thus offer lower fares.
Since an agreement between the two countries took effect in 2006, Vietnamese and Cambodian vehicles are allowed to enter and buses can take tourists to each other's territory.
Four Vietnamese companies operate on the HCMC-Phnom Penh route -- Sapaco, a pioneer in the Vietnam-Cambodia transport market, Kumho Samco, Mai Linh, and Sinh Café.
They are ranged against a clutch of Cambodian bus operators like Mekong, Sorya, Capital, Phon Linh, Rasmey Samaky, Khai Nam, and SH 15.
According to the Vietnamese companies, the biggest advantage for the Cambodians is that they can buy buses at much lower prices in their country than in Vietnam.
Then, the Cambodian buses draw away customers because the Vietnamese police ignore their offences such as parking in prohibited areas to pick up passengers.
Many of the Cambodian bus drivers violate Vietnamese traffic laws but claim not to speak or understand Vietnamese, and are let off with a warning, they said.
According to the director of a Vietnamese bus company who required anonymity, the average ratio of Vietnamese-Cambodian buses passing through the Moc Bai Border Gate is 3-18 on normal days and 5-50 during holidays.
Ho Huy, chairman of the Mai Linh Group, said his company has temporarily suspended operation on the HCMC-Phnom Penh route to train drivers and upgrade buses.