Travel firms brace for congested Tet
People at Giap Bat Bus Station in Ha Noi. The station is expected to receive at least 30,000 passengers daily during the pre-Tet period, which reaches its peak about a week before the holiday begins on February 10 this year. — VNA/VNS Photo The Duyet
HA NOI (VNS)— Travel companies in Ha Noi are hurrying to meet travel demands which are expected to increase up to 20 per cent compared with the period immediately before Tet.
The busiest time of a year is approaching when people typically return to their hometowns before the nation’s biggest holiday.
Vice Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee Nguyen Hoang Hiep made a fact-finding tour yesterday of Giap Bat Station in Ha Noi and met with the Ha Noi Bus Station Management Company.
At the meeting, Hiep stressed that the goals must be to eliminate serious coach accidents, avoid heavy traffic congestion and provide tickets at reasonable prices, particularly to low-income residents.
According to the director of the company Nguyen Hoang Trung, the number of passengers travelling during the peak days (in the week before the holiday starts on February 10) would reach about 30,000 per day at Giap Bat Station and 40,000 per day at My Dinh Station.
The company has plans to allocate an additional 450 passenger cars for use at the main stations of My Dinh, Giap Bat and Gia Lam.
The Department of Transport has also designated 10 free buses to carry workers at industrial zones to their hometowns.
The Department has also asked all bus owners to follow proper technical maintenance requirements, using GPS to provide alerts if drivers go over speed and making sure that overnight buses must have at least two main drivers.
Officials have also called for increased inspections before Tet so that vehicles that fall short of requirements are prevented from leaving their station.
Hiep called for residents not to enter buses that are not parked at stations and asked authorities to set up a hotline publicised on buses so that passengers can report wrongdoings.
The situation in other provinces is similar. Pham Van Co, director of northern Lai Chau Province’s Bus Station, said tickets to Ha Noi, Thai Binh and Thai Nguyen had sold out for those traveling about a week before Tet.
The Ninh Binh Department of Transport has also confirmed that no construction projects would receive approval from Feb. 2 to Feb. 17.
In related news, despite a fall in the number of accidents and deaths this month compared to January 2012, there are mounting concerns that road traffic incidents are not being cut fast enough, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.
Hiep was quoted on the Government’s web portal saying that more drastic measures are required to control traffic accidents, as those taken so far have not been effective enough.
He said society must make a more combined effort otherwise the targets set by the National Assembly to reduce the number of traffic accidents by between 5-10 per cent this year would be unachievable.
In January, the country recorded 2,703 traffic violations, a decline of more than 25 per cent compared to the same period last year. The injury number was 2,728, a reduction of 34.5 per cent and the number of fatalities was 25, the same as last year.
However, HCM City and central Ninh Thuan Province – two localities that achieved good results in traffic accident control in 2012 – have seen traffic accidents and related cases of death rise this month compared to December 2012 and January last year.
Hiep said that typically the frequency of traffic accidents increases by 50 per cent during the days leading up to Tet, with an average number of 28 fatalities.
He said that the Prime Minister and the committee had asked all provinces and cities to strengthen measures for ensuring traffic safety over the next few weeks.
Across the country, transport centres of all kinds have been preparing for this period and worked to ensure that travelling remains an easy and efficient experience for passengers during the Lunar New Year. — VNS