KUALA LUMPUR: The public remained unfazed by the seemingly short three-day Chinese New Year weekend celebration as they seized the opportunity to return to their hometowns and visit interesting tourist spots across the country.

While some prefer to drive themselves, public transportation, especially express buses, remains the top choice for those seeking comfort or avoiding the hassle of driving in traffic congestion during the festive season.

Unlike in the past where people had to queue for long hours at counters, the more systematic online ticket sales make it easier to purchase tickets in advance compared to last-minute, as noted by Bernama, attracting many to opt for such transportation.

“I booked my tickets online one month ago because I was scared it will be sold out for the Chinese New Year holidays,“ said Eva Chong, 21, who will be celebrating the festive season with her family in Kulai, Johor, for a week.

This private college student, met by Bernama at the Terminal Bas Bersepadu (TBS) here, found that online purchasing services greatly assist students like herself in planning their journey back home, besides avoiding being scammed by ‘ticket touts’.

Furthermore, this service also provides options to those making last-minute purchases to check available tickets compared to the previous method, which required individuals to visit bus terminals, inquire at each counter, or contact bus companies.

This convenience brought relief to Joana, 28, who only managed to buy the ticket last Wednesday to return to Melaka to celebrate the occasion with her family, even though she only had a one-day leave.

“I bought the ticket online yesterday and luckily there was still one available for me,“ she said.

Bernama also found that the buses provided to accommodate the increased number of passengers during this Chinese New Year holiday are still sufficient, as several counters indicated that tickets to various popular destinations are still available.

This could be seen as those making last-minute purchases, including Joana, did not encounter any ticket shortages at the bus terminal counters, even with only one day left before celebrating the Chinese community’s festivities.

Purchasing at the counter still appears to be the choice for some members of the public, especially among the elderly. However, the situation is not as crowded or requiring them to get in long-queues as before, resulting in faster transactions.

“Although buying online is convenient, it’s important to have counter facilities because sometimes the system can go offline, especially when many people are using it simultaneously, particularly during festive seasons.”

“I just bought tickets at the counter earlier and luckily there are three tickets left,“ said Fanisha Abdullah, 25, who is returning to her hometown in Kluang, Johor, with her two children for the holiday.

In addition to locals, many foreign tourists also seize the opportunity to use public transportation to explore interesting destinations outside the Klang Valley, including joining in the fun of celebrating the festivities.

“We are here for six days and currently getting our tickets to visit Melaka, so excited,“ said Daichi, 19, a tourist from Yokohama, Japan, visiting Malaysia for the first time with three friends.

The Chinese New Year celebration will be observed this Saturday, marking the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac, believed to symbolise strength, honour, success and prosperity. -Bernama

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