Pioneering local app provides roadside assistance service to Cambodian drivers

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KAC has launched a new app that allows users to request roadside assistance through their phones. Photo supplied

Tep Sareth got a flat tire while driving his car at night. With no garage in sight, he started asking people on the road for help to change the wheel. He finally found someone, but it set him back $10.

“It was a difficult situation since I didn’t know how to change a tire. I had to wait for a long time and finally was forced to pay quite a lot of money,” he said, explaining that this experience inspired him to help people that find themselves in similar situations.

The 39-year-old says Cambodia does not have road service like Australia or the US.

“In Cambodia, we only have people that go around fixing tires and car garages. We lack proper road service as you would find in the US, Australia, and Europe,” he says.

“I lived in Australia for two years, and I used this service. I thought my country will also have great demand for it,” said Sareth, who has worked in the automotive industry for more than 10 years.

In 2018, Sareth launched the Khmer Automobile Club (KAC), the first emergency roadside assistance service in the Kingdom.

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KAC technicians will bring you petrol if you run out while driving. Photo supplied

“Having a flat tire is not only annoying – it can also be very dangerous,” Sareth told The Post.

“Changing the tire yourself can be fairly straightforward, but if you prefer to kick back and relax, then you can give us a call, and we’ll send our technician.”

KAC provides six services: fixing engine problems, changing flat tires, bringing petrol if you run out, jump-starting the vehicle, unlocking the vehicle and towing.

“If your battery is dead, we jump-start your vehicle. If you get a flat tire, we will change it for you. If you leave your key inside, we help you open the car. If your engine stops working, we will fix it,” Sareth says.

“If the problem can’t be fixed on the spot, we will tow the vehicle to any garage you choose. Finally, if you run out of petrol, we will bring some to you,”

To expand the reach of the service, Sareth launched the KAC App, available now at the Play Store and the App Store.

To become a KAC member, users pay a $25 yearly fee. This grants them access to all six services offered by the organisation.

“Members that use the KAC App get special promotions and updates,” says Sareth.

Non-members pay every time they request a service, which usually means they end up paying more than registered members, Sareth explains.

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Users can call KAC or use the app to get their vehicles towed to a nearby garage. Photo supplied

“Non-members don’t need to register but can still use any of our services, each having a different price. If they are using the app, they will be asked to input their name and plate number,” he says, explaining that payments can be made remotely using a credit card or directly to the technicians.

After requesting a technician, users can expect to wait for about 45 minutes, depending on their location and traffic.

“Our technicians will always find the user, no matter where they are,” Sareth says, noting that they have served over 1,000 people since launching in 2018.

KAC covers only the Phnom Peh metropolitan area, but Sareth has plans to expand the service to some provinces by late 2021 or early 2022.

The most common problems Cambodians face on the road are flat tires, dead batteries and getting locked out of their cars, Sareth notes.

“Flat tires are common because the roads here are not in good condition,” he says.

KAC is inside the PL&L Building Center, #431, Street 230, Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh. For more information, visit their Facebook page @RoadsideCambodia or website http://roadsidekac.com.

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Before KAC was launched, the Kingdom lacked proper roadside assistance service. Photo supplied