|Eastern Bus Station in Bình Thạnh District on December 11. Transport firms in HCM City expect an unprecedented low passenger demand for travel during the upcoming Tết holiday. Photo nld.com.vn|
HCM CITY — Transport firms at coach stations in HCM City expect an unprecedented low passenger demand for travel during the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nine-day 2022 Tết holiday takes place from January 29 to February 6.
The Miền Tây (Western) and Miền Đông (Eastern) bus stations have not announced plans to sell Tết tickets due to limited demand.
Last weekend only a few people visited the Eastern Bus Station in Bình Thạnh District (where only 10 ticket counters were open) to buy tickets to travel on the same day (not for the Tết holiday).
At a ticket counter for the HCM City – Quảng Nam route, only one person in the morning came to ask for information about Tết tickets but did not make a decision.
Tạ Chương Chín, deputy director of the bus station, said due to the pandemic situation, travel demand from HCM City to other provinces and cities in the central, Central Highlands and northern regions is low, with each bus transporting only five to six passengers a day.
“The bus station is working with transport firms to review the pandemic situation before making any plans to sell Tết tickets,” he said.
The station will also report to the Department of Transport its plan to serve passengers on the occasion of the national holiday.
City authorities will issue regulations on the number of routes, number of trips, and the average number of passengers allowed based on the COVID situation in each city and province.
The situation has been the same at the Miền Tây (Western) Bus Station. During the afternoon last Saturday, the ticket counters served only a few passengers.
Nguyễn Hùng, a ticket salesman at Phước Hưng bus operator on the HCM City - Gia Lai route, said: “The company has yet to have any plans to sell tickets for Tết. It has only accepted bookings by phone.
“In the past few days, we have received a number of calls from passengers inquiring about information but not making a reservation.”
A representative of the Western Bus Station said unlike in previous years most bus companies have no plans to sell Tết tickets.
“Only half of the bus businesses in the Western Bus Station have resumed operation with limited capacity, mostly transporting goods,” he said.
Every day, about 120-130 buses transporting more than 1,000 passengers leave the station, accounting for only less than 5 per cent of the number of passengers before the pandemic, according to a representative of the bus station.
Many people who returned to their hometowns have not come back to HCM City.
Meanwhile, people in the city are hesitant to return to their hometowns during the upcoming holiday for fear of changing pandemic regulations in localities.
Abundant air tickets
While the supply of air tickets is abundant, the demand is very low. There are a number of flights with a variety of flight times for passengers to choose from.
The fares from HCM City – Hà Nội route are much cheaper compared to mid-October when domestic flights resumed.
A Vietjet Air round trip from HCM City – Hà Nội is as low as VNĐ3.7 million (including taxes and fees), while Bamboo Airways is VNĐ4.4 million and Vietravel Airlines’ ticket VNĐ4.6 million.
Airfares booked for the peak days of the Lunar New Year are also inexpensive.
For example, a return ticket from HCM City to Hà Nội during the peak days of the upcoming Tết holiday on Vietjet Air is VNĐ3.8 million, half of the price in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, a return ticket on the same route for Bamboo Airways is VNĐ5.3 million, VNĐ3.3 million lower than the same period last year, and Vietnam Airlines is VNĐ5.68 million, about 3.8 million lower than the same period last year. — VNS