Passengers hop on buses at Miền Đông Station in HCM City. — Photo courtesy of thoibaokinhdoanh.vn
HCM CITY — Thousands of people from the central provinces have flocked to bus and train stations to return home after the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, with many having to pay high prices for their trips.
The busiest passenger pick-up spot was near Big C Thanh Hoá Supermarket, according to Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper. Though the municipal police force increased the number of inspections, black-market bargain activities continued to be spotted in the area.
Nguyễn An, who said he had to book his ticket very early, had to pay VNĐ1.8 million (US$77.5), far higher than the usual fare of VNĐ650,000-700,000 ($28-30.1) for a bus ticket from Thanh Hoá to Cam Ranh.
Meanwhile, Lê Duy Huân decided to book a private taxi worth VNĐ1.8 million to take his family back to Hải Phòng City after the holiday.
The bus ticket price in central Nghệ An Province also surged after the holidays. It normally takes about VNĐ600,00 to travel from Nghệ An to HCM City by coach. However, the fee has increased to VNĐ1,700,000 per ticket.
Though Nghệ An Province's Department of Transport recently added 150 buses, it has not been able to meet travel demand.
A representative of Vinh Station said that an additional six trains have been scheduled for the Vinh City – Hà Nội route and 12 trains for the Vinh City – HCM City route.
As hard-seat, soft-seat and bed tickets between the 4th and 6th days of Lunar New Year are sold out, extra seats are available if they choose to travel on these days.
After Tết, the Vinh Station has sold 5,000 to 6,000 of tickets on a daily basis, up three times compared to off-peak days.
Lê Thị Tuyến from the Đà Nẵng Railway Station said the number of visitors coming to the train station and heading south has not changed much compared to last year’s Tết season.
According to recent statistics, starting from January 25 (the first day of Lunar New Year), Đà Nẵng Station has been receiving more than 2,000 passengers per day, most of them boarding for the south.
Meanwhile, Phạm Thị Ngọc Lan, director of Đà Nẵng Central Bus Station Enterprise, said that their tickets have not sold out as in previous years, but they are 40 to 60 per cent more expensive compared to normal days.
On the morning of January 29 (the 5th day of Lunar New Year), many travel agencies reported that bus routes traveling from Nha Trang to other southern provinces were sold out, despite the 60 per cent surcharge.
Lê Trọng Trí from the Nha Trang Station said that people can now purchase tickets online.
Between the first and fourth days of Lunar New Year, about 600 buses were under operation, up 6.6 per cent year on year. Most buses travelled to HCM City. — VNS