HOMEWARD BOUND: Passengers crowd the security-check area in Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City’s Tân Bình District as Tết (Lunar New Year) approaches. — Photo tuoitre.vn
HCM CITY — The number of passengers passing through HCM City’s airport and bus stations has increased in recent days as the city has been a pandemic-free 'green zone’ for three consecutive weeks and Tết (Lunar New Year) is approaching.
Tết, the most important traditional festival in the country, will last from January 31 to February 4.
Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport has been crowded for the last few days. Its check-in and security-check areas have been packed with long queues of passengers travelling from and to the city.
All domestic passengers still have to make an e-medical declaration on the PC-COVID application before their trip and are also required to queue, wear masks and keep a proper safe distance at all times.
According to the Tân Sơn Nhất airport authority, the airport operated more than 600 flights, transporting about 59,000 passengers last Sunday, equal to 66 per cent of flights and 44 per cent of passengers compared to the same period last year.
However, the level has increased recently and is forecast to continue to rise sharply in the coming days.
The old Miền Đông (Eastern) Bus Station in Bình Thạnh District has also seen an increasing demand for bus tickets.
Đỗ Phú Đạt, deputy director of the bus station, said the number of passengers through the station had increased remarkably compared to previous days as people in other provinces have started to return to their hometown.
As of January 22, bus operators have sold nearly 50,000 Tết bus tickets, reaching 51 per cent of the plan.
“The number of tickets sold is equal to the number on peak days last Tết, but is showing a good sign of increasing for the Tết period,” he said.
The price of Tết tickets has increased by 20-60 per cent compared to normal days, depending on the distance and travel time of the route.
Miền Tây (Western) Bus Station in Bình Tân District also faces a similar situation. The number of passengers has decreased significantly compared to the same period last year but is increasing gradually over the last few days.
So far around 57,000 Tết tickets have been sold, and more than 75,000 tickets will be supplied to passengers, said Trần Văn Phương, the bus station’s deputy director.
By last Sunday, nearly 300 buses transported more than 4,400 people to their home provinces.
Đỗ Ngọc Hải, head of road transport management sub-department, said inter-provincial road passenger transport was forecast to decrease sharply because the pandemic was still developing in some southwestern and northern provinces.
Ten out of 57 inter-provincial passenger transport routes between HCM City and other provinces have not yet resumed operation. In addition, some localities still require passengers to follow quarantine requirements.
The number of passengers passing through inter-provincial bus stations, Sài Gòn Railway Station, and the airport this Tết is forecast to reach about 50 per cent, 30 per cent and 80 per cent respectively compared to last year.
Inter-provincial bus stations are expected to reach about 60,000 passengers on peak days this Tết, though it reached about 130,000 passengers in previous years. — VNS