|Road users are blocked by a traffic jam in HCM City. Travellers are warned about missing flights due to traffic congestion before Tet. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Linh
HCM CITY (VNS) — Thousands of people in HCM City have already begun returning to their hometowns in central and northern regions for Tet (Lunar New Year) which begins on February 8.
To meet transport demand, the Mien Dong (Eastern) and Mien Tay (Western) bus stations as well as Sai Gon Railway Station have made preparations to accommodate passengers and prevent overcrowding.
Some 217 travel firms at Eastern Bus Station have increased the number of coaches to meet the demand in the run-up to Tet.
The station is expected to serve 359,000 passengers from seven to 10 days prior to Tet.
About 3,630 buses will be used during the peak period from January 31 to February 5.
The station will also have 60 buses available in case the number of passenger surges during the period.
Thuong Thanh Hai, deputy director of Western Bus Station, said there were enough bus seats for the holiday.
He said the number of passengers travelling to the Mekong Delta this year would increase by 3-5 per cent over the previous year.
Peak days will be February 5 and 6, with 54,000-56,000 passengers per day.
Major routes with high demand include those from the city to Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Can Tho, Dong Thap, An Giang, Kien Giang and Ca Mau provinces in the Mekong Delta and the southern coastal province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau.
Do Quang Van, branch director of Sai Gon Railway Transport Company, said from January 29 to February 6, between 18 and 20 trains would carry 13,000-14,000 passengers a day, departing from Sai Gon Railway Station to central and northern regions.
Tan Son Nhat airport
HCM City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport is accommodating an influx of Viet kieu (overseas Vietnamese) returning home for Tet celebration.
The airport, the largest in the country, has already exceeded its design capacity of 25 million passengers a year.
Last month, the airport served 2.5 million passengers, a rise of more than 20 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to the Southern Airports Authority.
There are now 720 landings and takeoffs at the terminal a day, a 14 percent increase from last year's holiday, and some 100,000 passengers arrive in or leave HCM City via the airport on a daily basis, up 10 per cent over the previous year.
Travellers sometimes have to endure missing flights due to traffic congestion on roads leading to the airport or endless queues at check-in and luggage counters.
According to airline representatives, the entire airport staff will be working during the holiday period, with more attendants helping passengers at check-in.
Budget carrier Vietjet said it had increased the number of auto check-in machines to six from the previous two to help more passengers.
Vietjet also has a team of volunteers to guide passengers to the right check-in counters, as well as help them with luggage scanning.
Meanwhile, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has erected a large check-in counter instruction panel in front of its hall, telling passengers which counters they should use, based on their destination.
The airline has also located its luggage wrapping and weighing machines at the entrance to save time for passengers.
Tan Son Nhat management and the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam (CAAV) have also enacted measures to prevent overcrowding.
Vo Huy Cuong, CAAV deputy head, said: "Two weeks prior to Tet, we increased the landing and takeoff frequency at the airport to 40 flights per hour, instead of 36."
The CAAV has also asked airlines to adjust their schedules to ensure optimum operations. New baggage scanning machines have been added to prevent long waiting lines, and a new taxi zone has doubled the number of cabs at the airport.
Airlines said passengers should arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to departure during the holiday period. — VNS