The number of passengers using HCM City's Mien Dong and Mien Tay coach stations has increased to 60,000 and 55,000 a day, respectively, according to the stations' management boards.

The Mien Dong Coach Station on January 18 transported 50,000 passengers to southeastern, central and northern regions, up 30,000 passengers against normal days.

Thuong Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Mien Dong Coach Station, said his station has contracted to rent hundreds of buses to increase the capacity of transporting passengers for Tet.

However, traffic congestion on National Highway 1 at Ca Pass in the central provinces of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa has slowed down bus travel through the pass.

If traffic congestion is prolonged, buses cannot return to the station on schedule to continue transporting customers.

The station has about 3,500 buses. Nearly 2,000 depart the station a day.

At the Mien Tay Coach Station, the number of passengers travelling to the Cuu Long (Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta) provinces and Can Tho City reached 35,000 on January 18, up 15,000 passengers compared to normal days, according to the station's deputy director Tran Van Phuong.

The HCM City Centre for Public Transport Management has assigned the Sai Gon Passenger Transport Company, HCM City Bus Cooperative Alliance and other transport cooperatives to prepare 300 buses to transport passengers from Mien Tay and Mien Dong coach stations to other destinations.

Meanwhile, the number of passengers who caught an inter-provincial bus along national highways has also increased in recent days.

On January 18, the City Department of Transport's Transport Inspection Team No. 5 found dozens of violations of inter-provincial buses that have illegally picked up passengers along National Highways 13, No. 1A and Asian Highway.

Vo Hoang Son of the Transport Inspection Team No. 5 said his team has been assigned to inspect around the clock some petrol stations where many inter-provincial buses often park to pick up passengers.

However, when there are inspections, inter-provincial buses have switched to pick up passengers at other spots.

In addition, passenger overload on inter-provincial buses have continued, as in previous years.

Nguyen Xuan Hao, head of the Ministry of Transport's Inspectorate, said inspection teams in the south has discovered thousands of violations committed by inter-provincial buses during the Tet inspection.

Dong Nai Province, which is the gateway for south-north routes for inter-provincial buses leaving HCM City, found the highest number of violations.

The Dong Nai Province Department of Transport Inspectorate handed out fines for 1,053 violations from December 10 to January 10.

The Ministry of Transport's Inspectorate has asked provincial inspector-ates to continue mobilising all inspection forces to check operation of buses during Tet, Hao said. Inspection forces will force inter-provincial buses that have too many passengers to transfer the surplus number of passengers to buses at coach stations.

He said drivers of overloaded busses will have their driving licences revoked./.