This is time of the year when Thingyan days come close, those wishing to travel from Yangon to other parts of the country face a common issue. That is what they could not easily buy long-haul bus tickets. This year, they are facing the same.
A majority of workers in Yangon are from other regions in the country and they want to return home every year when Thingyan holidays fall. The difficulty they have to face at this time of the year is how to get a bus ticket home.
“I see it is becoming worse this year. I have been ok before as I used to buy bus tickets four days ahead, but not this year. I told my brother who works at the highway bus terminal to get a ticket for me five days ahead but he could not.
I learnt tickets have being sold since late March. But what we saw in the news is that bus tickets would be sold very soon before Thingyan. I experienced that the bus terminal was so busy with people that I could not get through for a ticket. I was disappointed with that,” said Ko Thet Htwe who is returning to Shwe Taung near Pyay in Bago Region.
According to the announcement by Yangon Region Transport Authority, the authorities is finding a solution to the issue with an arrangement of providing YBS buses to be operated on some highway routes for two days before Thingyan.
Additionally, Myanma Railways also announced that two special trains – one for civil servants and the other for Thingyan travellers -- will be run on the route between Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay starting from April 11.
The announcement says that those who will ride special Thingyan train have to buy tickets in advance: one day ahead for ordinary class ticket and three days ahead for special class. The special train which will run daily during Thingyan days stops at some stations of Toekyaunglay, Bago, Taungoo, Pyinmana, Nay Pyi Taw and Thazi on the route.
Despite these suggested solutions to the issue, travellers are still having difficulty.
“It is not convenient to deal with bus tickets centers now. We have to pay more than the usual price for a ticket. We know we could complain to the authorities but have no time to do so while trying so hard to secure a ticket. It is not ok. I hope there is no such difficulty in the years to come. I have been hoping for a long time,” said Ma Khin Mar Htwe, a company staff member who is going home to Mandalay.
According to the official public holidays, there are only five days off for workers in the Myanmar New Year period this year.