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Workers stranded in post-Tet rush

Update: January, 30/2012 - 09:52

HCM CITY — Thousands of people who visited their hometowns in the northern and central provinces to celebrate Tet (Lunar New Year) with their families are finding it difficult to get bus and train tickets to return to the south, especially HCM City.

Migrant workers in particular have flocked to bus and train stations to get tickets to southern provinces and HCM City, but ended up waiting all day long along National Road 1A in hope of finding a bus that would take them to the city and resume work today.

On Saturday, January 28, thousands of people could be seen waiting along the National Road 1A from the Hue T-junction in central Da Nang City to the Huong An T-junction in Quang Nam Province in the hope of finding any way to get to HCM City, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Dong Nai provinces.

With most buses overloaded, they did not have much luck.

Waiting at Vinh Dien town in Quang Nam Province's Dien Ban District, Nguyen Dinh Phong said that buying tickets from HCM City to the hometown and vice versa before and after Tet has become very difficult in recent years.

Phong said four of his family members had to wait a whole morning but could not even find a single seat on buses because all the buses were overloaded.

Many migrant workers have had to accept extremely high prices to be taken to Nha Trang City in central Khanh Hoa Province, or some provinces in the Central Highlands region, before being able to take another bus to HCM City.

Due to the increase in demand, many bus companies have increased ticket prices by 30 to 40 per cent. A berth on a bus from Da Nang to HCM City has gone up from VND670,000 – VND750,000 (US$32-36) to up to VND1 million ($48).

Le Viet Hoang, director of the Da Nang Transport Service and Station Management Co, said the increased demand for transportation before and after Tet has been caused by the longer holiday this year, prompting more people to go home for Tet than in previous years.

Hoang said most bus tickets to the south have been sold out until February 2.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people flocked to the Da Nang railway station to buy train tickets to the south but most of them failed.

There are only 1,500-1,700 train seats from Da Nang to HCM City every day, but the demand is about 2,500 after Tet. Train tickets have been sold out until February 5, according to officials at the Da Nang railway station.

Tickets on high quality buses on the Da Lat – HCM City route have also been sold out for the next few days.

According to the Thanh Buoi Co Ltd, although the company increased the number of buses from Da Lat to HCM City by 20 every day, they were still unable to meet demand.

Tickets on buses run by the Phuong Trang and Mai Linh companies on the Da Lat – HCM City route have also been sold out until January 31.

The situation is the same on buses plying the Buon Ma Thuot City – HCM City route. All the tickets were sold out a few days ago. For the Tet festival this year, the price of tickets from Buon Ma Thuot City to HCM City increased by VND50,000-VND100,000 over normal days.

Meanwhile, serious traffic congestion has been reported on National Road 1A since January 28 because of the high number of vehicles travelling from northern and central provinces to the south. Severe traffic jams several kilometers long have also occurred on roads from the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta to HCM City, according to local reports. — VNS

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