Saturday February 9, 2013
Festive send-off for ‘balik kampung’ folk as exodus begins
By PATRICK LEE
KUALA LUMPUR: Commuters leaving from the intercity and electric train service platforms at KL Sentral were seen off by lion dancers, backed with pounding drums and gongs, as the Chinese New Year balik kampung exodus started.
Elsewhere, bus terminals were also packed with holidaymakers scrambling for seats and tickets, while looking forward to spend the festive break in their hometowns.
KTM Intercity general manager Mohd Zain Mat Taha said over 2,000 “goodie bags” with ang pow and oranges were given to lucky passengers to liven up the festive mood.
At the Integrated South-Bandar Tasik Selatan Transport Terminal (TBS-BTS), the Chinese New Year rush picked up at around 2pm yesterday.
TBS-BTS operation manager Faizal Redza Redzuan said the station sold 9,000 bus tickets to Malacca, Johor, Negri Sembilan and Singapore yesterday, adding that 50,000 tickets would be on sale during the holiday period.
At Pudu Central, business student Loke Xin Yi, 22 said: “Tickets were sold out by 10am. I had to settle for the late bus back to my hometown in Ipoh.
Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali said the bus passenger traffic was 40% to 50% higher during the festive season than regular weekends.
Express bus companies, he said, used the Temporary Variation Licences to put as many as 1,200 to 1,500 extra buses on the road during the holidays.
Even with more travellers, Ashfar felt that the mad rush for buses would not occur, given the spread of Chinese New Year over Monday and Tuesday.