Well aware of the travel rush, most regular passengers reserved tickets with bigger travel companies well in advance of official sale of tickets, resulting in many coach companies now announcing a sell out of tickets, triggering ticket frenzy.
|Big travel companies already sell out coach tickets for Tet holidays. (Photo: SGGP)|
However, tickets of other lesser known coach companies are still available at bus stations but passengers don’t give them much preference as they do not offer good service comparatively.
On December 3, Mai Linh Express started handing out tickets to passengers who had reserved tickets for trips from January 15 to 20 via telephone. Nguyen Hai, a student of Hong Bang University, said that in order to get the ticket he had to book two weeks in advance. Many passengers failed to buy tickets at the company ticket counter at Mien Dong Bus Station because they had not reserved via telephone.
A Mai Linh ticket seller said that the company has already sold out tickets for trips from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi from January 24 to 26; from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang from January 23 to 29; and from Ho Chi Minh City to Quang Ngai from January 17 to 29.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Mai, a sophomore of Ho Chi Minh City University of Agriculture and Forestry, shared that she will return to her hometown immediately after she finishes her tests on January 16 because it is difficult to buy tickets for later days.
Meanwhile, although other bigger coach companies, such as Chin Nghia, Hoang Long, Phuong Trang and Tran Tam have not announced ticket sales for Tet holidays, their regular passengers have already booked tickets.
According to a representative of Mien Dong Bus Station, around 60 out of 215 coach companies operating from the station have sold out all Tet tickets. Thus there were about 155 companies who have not yet sold Tet tickets. During peak time, the Station will put 120 additional buses into operation, as well as move coaches from less frequented routes to serve on more popular routes.
Thuong Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of Mien Dong Bus Station, affirmed that the Station will have enough coaches to cater to travel demand during Tet holidays so passengers should buy tickets at the station.
According to Nguyen Ngoc Thua, Director of Mien Dong Bus Station, the Station already has plans to serve travel demand from January 21 to February 9. As for routes to the North, tickets will be sold five days earlier. Forecasts said that travel demand will increase significantly from January 24 to 28 on routes from Ho Chi Minh to northern and central provinces.
In order to compensate for empty trips, ticket prices will increase by 20-60 percent, depending on date and route.
The Department of Finance in Ho Chi Minh City has sent a document ordering coach companies to list their bus fares publicly and not raise the fare during Tet festive season. Although authorities forbid coach companies to hike fares by more than 60 percent, some coach companies still heave fares by 100-200 percent.
Mr. Hai said that the station is only able to control prices of coach companies operating from the station. As for outside coaches, the station is powerless.