Only 6,900 train tickets have been sold so far for Tet, the Lunar New Year, in early February, or just 20 percent of the total seats available.
For the period from January 20 to February 13, Hanoi station has sold only 300 tickets, or a fifth of the usual number during Tet, Pham Thi Anh Dao, a railway employee said.
She blamed the slow sales on the pandemic, with many localities requiring travelers to quarantine and frequently changing regulations, and said, as a result, travelers are waiting to buy at the last minute.
Most of the tickets are for shortish trips from the capital to central localities such as Vinh, Dong Hoi and Da Nang, she said, adding many families have utilized discounts to book whole coaches to safeguard themselves amid Covid-19.
Another reason is that many people such as workers in southern areas and students are already in their hometown and have yet to return to major cities for work.
Saigon station has sold 6,300 tickets, or 3 percent of the previous year’s number at a comparable date, mostly on the Hanoi and Da Nang routes.
The Vietnam Railways has been offering promotions such as not hiking fares from a year ago, discounts of up to 40 percent for early booking and 2-13 percent for group purchases, and slashing prices for return tickets.
A promotion on booking whole coaches, with discounts of 10-15 percent beyond 300 kilometers and free meals, will continue until February 28.
Pandemic safety regulations will be in place, with passengers from high-risk zones and locked-down areas or having symptoms like cough and sore throat requiring to take Covid-19 tests before boarding.
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