Passengers rushing for a ride back home will be relieved to discover that most bus companies still have an abundance of tickets for bus trips to major cities in spite of Aidilfitri celebrations being just four days away.
As opposed to common assumption that availability of bus tickets to major cities will be a rarity this time of the year, seats are still available for buses heading to Ipoh, Penang and Johor Bahru at the Bukit Jalil bus terminal.
On the contrary, tickets for buses heading to the East Coast are mostly sold out.
Bus operators have claimed that the sales momentum is not like what is usually observed during the Raya festive season.
Prestij Dinasti Express tickets clerk Nur Ameera Abdul Razak attributed the slow ticket sales to the long school holidays.
“The school holiday started on September 4 and will last until September 16 (Malaysia Day holiday), so people are free to travel back home anytime they want,” she said.
Meanwhile, Durian Burung express ticket clerk Hazlinda Shari believes that the ticket sales will only pick up after September 8.
“Normally we don’t experience tickets shortage unless there are two festivals happening around the same period,” she said.
Major bus companies allocated extra buses
Major bus companies have however allocated extra bus trips to accommodate the festive season’s exodus.
One such company is Konsortium Express, whose sales for September 7, 8 and 9 are all fully booked.
The express’ sales clerk Suziena Mohd Din said that demands are very high for seats to smaller towns such as Taiping, Jitra and Sungai Petani as only two trips to these areas are offered everyday.
“For major cities such as Johor Bahru and Penang, tickets are still available,” she added.
Meanwhile, Konsortium Transnasional Berhad bus operator have imposed a 10 percent increase in ticket fares for the extra buses that are allocated for the festive season.
“It depends on the time you choose. For example on the same day you will have (normal bus) trips to Penang that cost RM34 and (extra buses that cost) RM38.5,” explained ticket counter officer Ahmad Ismail.
Terminal management: Nothing changes except the venue
The bus terminal’s management company Uda Holdings however played down the relocation of the bus terminal to Bukit Jalil as a possible reason for the slow ticket sales.
A source from the management body stated that bus operators are given ample time and space to conduct their business despite the relocation.
“Everything remains the same, just except a change of venue,”
The source added that the only major difficulty the terminal faces is dropping off passengers on rainy days as the terminal, unlike the traditional Puduraya terminal, is an open space bus terminal.