Long-distance bus services out of Hanoi for the Tet holiday may be 300-350% more than usual, and all stations in the capital are prepared to handle the heavy traffic.
|Hanoi traffic inspectors discuss safety rules with a driver at Giap Bat bus station. Photo: Pham Cong/The Hanoi Times
The traditional Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday in 2024 will last seven days from February 8 to February 14. Demand for inter-provincial travel will peak between January 31 and February 9.
Vuong Duy Dung, Deputy Director of My Dinh Bus Station, said demand will increase at least fourfold.
Routes from Hanoi to northern mountainous provinces such as Tuyen Quang, Yen Bai, Son La, and Lao Cai will be very busy at certain times, he added.
The station and bus companies are now well prepared to handle the high traffic before, during and after Tet, he said.
"The companies will prepare about 1,400 extra buses for the national holidays, bringing the total to 2,500," he said. "Local buses for short-distance trips may be relieved during these days."
At Giap Bat Bus Station, Director Nguyen Hoang Tung predicts that the number of passengers will soar by 300% from normal levels, and the station's management has worked with bus companies to increase the frequency of long-distance buses by 250 trips per day.
"This year, we assure that there will be enough buses to take people home for Tet. There will also be several contingency solutions if the number of passengers rises sharply," he told The Hanoi Times.
Tung also recommended that all vehicles meet government standards for safe travel before leaving the station.
Trinh Hoai Lam, Deputy Director of Nuoc Ngam bus station, where buses depart for Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces in the north of the central coastal region, said: "We have studied the market demand and made different plans to meet passengers' expectations."
About 300 buses leave the station every day during peak hours.
"Passengers buy tickets online and don't have to come to the station until their departure time. So we don't expect any traffic jams during the day," Lam said.
The bus operators are also very supportive and willing to cooperate with the stations and the authorities.
Tran Thi Chien, representative of the Y Yen Transport Services Cooperative in Nam Dinh Province, said her company has made sure that all drivers obey the law when operating their vehicles on the road.
"The safety of passengers must come first. Our people are always present and available at the station to make the trips as comfortable and smooth as possible," she said.
Meanwhile, driver Nguyen Van Tung, who often travels between Hanoi and Danang, said the company and the authorities remind him of the traffic rules every day. "Thanks to their notes, we are all aware of the safety standards," Tung said.
Strong administrative measures
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh ordered provincial and local authorities to take strong measures to ensure road safety during the Tet holiday.
|Checking buses at Nuoc Ngam Bus Station in Hoang Mai District. Photo: Pham Cong/The Hanoi Times
In response to the Prime Minister's request, Hanoi's traffic inspectors and police have launched a special campaign to make sure that all drivers and people involved are complying with the rules.
At Giap Bat and Nuoc Ngam bus stations, enforcement units verified drivers' licences and checked the safety standards of buses. They also visited the companies' offices to inspect their operations.
Cao Dinh Kim Anh, head of the Mobile Traffic Inspection Department, said that traffic at the bus stations is always complicated and busy, especially during the Tet holidays.
"We divide into small working groups that take turns to patrol the local area. We communicate with the drivers and make sure that safety standards are met," he said.
"So far, the majority of drivers have done a good job of obeying the laws. We will continue to improve our work and cooperate with local police and governments to ensure safe roads," Anh added.
According to Nguyen Hoang Yen, a traffic inspector in Hoang Mai District, all drivers in the area have followed the rules. Every bus is equipped with fire extinguishers and emergency hammers, while passengers can also easily find the emergency number and bus operating rules.
"We also make sure that all bus offices are legally permitted, and drivers are not allowed to stop along the road to pick up random passengers."
At My Dinh bus station, Nguyen Manh Quyen, Deputy Chairman of Hanoi's People's Committee, urged the station's management to quickly issue permits for legal buses.
"Many people are in unfavorable financial situations. They can only choose to travel by bus as it is one of the cheapest means of transport," he said, calling on bus stations and companies to make greater efforts to provide better services to passengers.