A mass of transport service companies operating at the Ho Chi Minh City-based Mien Dong (East bound) Coach Station have been raising the price of coach fares for weekdays by five to 10 percent since mid-November, aiming to push prices up for the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

According to the station's regulations, travel businesses are allowed to raise fares for coaches from the city to destinations in central and northern provinces for peak days during Tet by 20-60 percent.

The increase in fares is aimed at making up for lost revenue for coaches that will return to the city with low passenger numbers after taking people to their hometowns for the holiday.

The Sao Vang Transport Service Trading Ltd Co has raised fares for trips from the city to the central province of Quang Ngai by six per cent. The cost of a seat since early this month has gone up to 340,000 VND (16 USD), and a bunk has risen to 390,000 VND (18 USD) on weekdays. The price will reach between 544,000 VND (25 USD) and 624,000 VND (29 USD) during the Tet holiday.

If the company hadn't increased the fare on weekdays, passengers would only have paid 512,000 VND (24 USD) for a seat and 592,000 VND (28 USD) for a bunk during the holiday.

Some transport businesses that sell tickets outside the station have taken advantage of the increase to illegally double their fares.

Duong Hong Thanh, Deputy Director of the city's Transport Department, told Tuoi Tre (The Youth) newspaper that inspectors were only responsible for managing and tackling violations involving ticket prices sold inside coach stations.

"Currently, there are no regulations to punish transport business that sell tickets outside the stations for an inflated price," Thanh said.

The city's Transport Department advised passengers to purchase tickets directly from the station to avoid problems. Transport inspectors have also been asked to strengthen inspections at the city's coach stations.

Since early this month, some transport businesses in Hanoi's My Dinh Coach station have increased fares for weekdays by 5-18 percent.-VNA