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Bus stations, train stations in Saigon dumbfounded

Bus stations, train stations in Ho Chi Minh City are “unprecedented” compared to the peak travel of Tet in previous years because people worry about Covid-19 infection, change plans to return home, pay for tickets.

Now the bus departs from Mien Dong bus station (Binh Thanh district) to Thuong Ly station (Hai Phong) on ​​the evening of February 6 (25 Tet), but at noon, Mr. Tay Do (53 years old, manager of Thanh Nhan garage) said still No guest has booked yet. Previously, each month, the garage ran 3-4 trips back and forth between Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong, carrying about 20 passengers per car and goods. “The Tet holiday is always full, the car does not turn around in time. This year, the 25th Tet still has no customers even though the car has been waiting for a few days,” Mr. Do said and said that now he only hopes that someone will hire a cargo to partially remove it. capital, because “each ride costs about 30 million VND”.

Bus stations, train stations in Saigon dumbfounded
Mr. Tay Do (standing), waiting for passengers at Mien Dong bus station to Hai Phong, on the afternoon of February 6. Photo: Gia Minh.

Inside the Eastern bus station is also a thin scene. On the rows of seats, people waiting for cars and buying tickets were not crowded like Tet in previous years. At many ticket booths, the staff kept calling customers because many cars were about to depart but only sold a few tickets. 

Hundreds of cars lined up in the rear parking lot are just stumbling around passersby. Most of people go to routes in the Central Highlands or the Central region with provinces close to Ho Chi Minh City such as Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai … At the bus return to Hue area to the Northern provinces – where often packed with people on the days bordering the New Year, it is lonely and lonely.

Like Mr. Do, Phi Long’s 50-seat car returned to Hue on schedule to leave the station on the evening of February 6, but since two days ago, Mr. Canh Vinh (43 years old, the driver) has been waiting for the customer. 3 hours before departure, less than a dozen people booked tickets. “If last year, 25 Tet, the car was able to run a few trips to Hue and then back to Ho Chi Minh City, this year, from the beginning of the Tet season, we must wait. Mr. Vinh was bored.

The number of tourists decreased sharply since the outbreak on January 28, concentrated in some northern provinces. In which the two largest outbreaks are in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh. This causes many people to change their plans for Tet holidays due to fear of infection or quarantine. After Tet, they cannot return to HCMC as planned. “Back to Thanh Hoa on the 27th of Tet but the translation was complicated, so I paid the ticket, took the fee and stayed in Saigon,” said Phuong Anh, 24, from Binh Thanh district.

Inside the Eastern bus station was deserted, on the afternoon of February 6. Photo: Gia Minh.

Mr. Do Phu Dat, Deputy Director of Mien Dong bus station, said that on February 5 (December 24), at the station nearly 1,400 departed cars carrying more than 33,400 passengers to localities. Compared to the plan, visitors decreased by nearly 12,000 people. Before that from February 2 to 4 (December 21 to 23), visitors passing through the station did not meet expectations. “Outbreak of epidemic caused many people to give up their intention to go home or change travel schedules. In recent days, about 10,000 tickets have been returned at the station,” Dat said, but said the station still asked businesses to support refund tickets for guests.

Another reason that the number of passengers was not as expected, the leader of the Mien Dong bus station said that, apart from the routes to Hai Duong, Quang Ninh stopped working since the outbreak, the bus is now going to two districts Krong Pa and Ayunpa town. Gia Lai) also recently stopped running after the illness cases. These routes usually have an average of 70 trips carrying about 3,500 passengers from Mien Dong bus station to Gia Lai and vice versa. On Tet holiday, the demand increased so the car stopped working also reduced the number of passengers.

Similarly, at the Western bus station (Binh Tan district), there are special short routes, so customers often focus on the Tet holiday to return home. But compared to previous years, people arriving at the station were also quieter. “The epidemic broke out at the right time near Tet, so many people did not want to gather crowdedly. In recent days, even though students have an early leave, their arrival at the bus station is much lower than usual,” said Phong, running the Western bus station. – Can Tho said and said that many people now want to drive home more by themselves because the journey is not far away, instead of taking a bus.

Staggered guests waiting to board the SE22 train at Saigon station, noon 6/2. Photo: Gia Minh.

The railway is equally lame. At Saigon Station (District 3) at noon on February 6, although people change and return train tickets are not many, mainly take the train but it is also deserted. The SE22 train departs at 11:40 a.m. but before that, only a few groups of passengers were waiting. This is in contrast for many years on Tet, when the platform is always bustling, customers wait in line for the train. “In recent days, though, the train has decreased but still has no people”, the female station staff said and said that for the first time she felt at Saigon station like “there is no Tet atmosphere”.

Since the outbreak, tens of thousands of train tickets have been returned. Most passengers pay tickets at Saigon and Di An stations (Binh Duong) for the journey from South to North before Tet and vice versa after Tet. The demand for travel has decreased sharply, so the railway industry canceled many trains to add to Tet such as: SE30, SE16, SE10 trains departing from Saigon station on February 10, 19, 20, 27 and 28. In Hanoi, SE29 train on February 21 and 22. At Vinh station, there is a SE15 train that is also canceled two days 20, 21/2 … Guests with the stopped train tickets can exchange free of charge to other trains to continue their journey or want to pay refund after 3 months 30% charge.

At Tan Son Nhat airport (Tan Binh district), Covid-19 also reduced visitors compared to Tet last year. It is estimated that there are more than 90,000 passengers departing and arriving every day at the airport, with 730 flights. The highest point before Tet is forecast on February 10 (December 29 of lunar calendar) with 836 flights; After Tet on February 16 (January 5 in lunar calendar), there are 874 trips.

After a positive case of nCoV as an employee working at the airport (“patient 1979”), the leader of Tan Son Nhat International Airport said that Tet travel service is still concentrated. The epidemic prevention activities were maintained and tightened, under the control of many parties to ensure not to spread the epidemic and not affect the airport operation.

Gia minh/vnexpress

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