Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in HCM City are concerned about the availability of bus tickets and rising prices for the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
A survey conducted at the Eastern Bus Terminal shows that most seats were fully booked for buses with beds from HCM City to provinces in the Mekong Delta, and northern and central regions.
Kiều Thanh Nam, general director of Eastern Bus Terminal, said the Eastern Bus Terminal would provide 14,300 buses to serve more than 400,000 travelers.
If that is not enough, major transporters such as Phương Trang, Chín Nghĩa and Thuận Thảo will rent more buses from the Western Region bus station to satisfy demand, he said.
Besides ticket shortages, migrant workers also face increases in bus ticket prices as well as airfares.
During Tết, the fares for trips from the Eastern Bus Terminal to the central and Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces will increase between 20 to 60 per cent over regular fares.
Since buses with beds will still be in short supply, some workers will have to buy tickets from private transporters at double the price they would normally pay.
Nguyễn Văn Tiến, a worker from the northern province of Nam Định, said that he was struggling to buy tickets to take a trip to his hometown.
“All buses with beds are fully booked, so we had to pay a fare of more than VNĐ1 million (US$44) for a seat from a private bus company. How can my child sit still for more than a day?” he said.
Airfare is also higher than normal, which has caused many people to book very late or early flights to save money on domestic routes.
Nguyễn Văn Thành, an office worker in HCM City, said he paid more than VNĐ22 million (US$980) for three return flights on Vietnam Airlines from HCM City to Đà Nẵng for a family reunion during the traditional Tết festival.
“This year’s airfare was much higher than in previous years,” he said.
Vietjet Air has announced that tickets for its HCM City-Vinh route, a city in the central province of Nghệ An, between January 29 and February 1 (three days before Tết), have sold out. Tickets on February 3 will cost over VNĐ2.8 million.
Similarly, Jetstar Pacific said there were no more tickets on its four daily flights from HCM City to Vinh between January 31 and February 2.
These three airlines have sold out HCM City-Huế City flights between January 29 and February 2. However, tickets are still available on these dates for flights from HCM City to Đà Nẵng and Nha Trang.
Đinh Việt Thắng, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Việt Nam (CAAV), said the numbers of air passengers during the Tết holiday is expected to rise by 11 per cent compared with the previous year
CAAV will use 32 airplanes during the holiday period, bringing the number of aircraft for domestic flights from 158 to over 180, Thắng said.
Jestar Pacific also will add 80,000 seats for domestic flights over the period, and will have more flights.
HCM City’s Student Support Centre will gift bus tickets to 3,000 poor students to return home for Tết from HCM City to the central provinces.
Passengers buy coach tickets at Miền Tây Coach Station in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Hải
HCM City authorities have deployed various measures to ensure traffic safety and order before and during the holiday.
Võ Khánh Hưng, deputy director of the city’s Department of Transportation, said to ensure smooth traffic and punish violators, the department has asked Bình Dương and Đồng Nai provinces and Mekong Delta provinces to use more traffic police around the clock and put up more road signs.
Traffic hotspots in HCM City include the intersection of Ring Road No 2 in District 9; Long Thành Bridge which links HCM City with Đồng Nai Province; Long Phước and Dầu Giây toll stations and toll station No 51; and the intersection at National Highway No 51 and HCM City-Long Thành-Dầu Giây Expressway.
Nguyễn Thị Hoài Phương, deputy director of the Việt Nam Expressway Services Engineering (VECE), said that if traffic congestion extends over 500m at Long Phước and Dầu Giây toll stations, VECE will divert traffic flows to An Phú, Ring Road 2, National Highway No 51 and Dầu Giây intersections, avoiding the expressway.
In addition, the Long Phước and Dầu Giây toll stations will open the gates for free for vehicles to pass through if traffic congestion extends over 500m, Phương said.
Tens of thousands of vehicles from HCM City will travel to provinces in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta. Traffic jams are expected at sections and intersections on National Highway 1A, National Highway No 50, HCM City-Trung Lương Expressway, as well as Rạch Miễu and Mỹ Thuận bridges and many small bridges. — VNS