Exodus by road and air this long weekend as voters return to hometowns


More vehicles will be on the road over the long weekend as people return home to vote in GE15. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

SEVERAL bus companies and at least one budget airline are seeing higher bookings for tickets during the long weekend holiday for the elections.

Siti Salamiah Abu Hassan, a bus company ticket counter operator at the Sungai Nibong bus terminal in Gelugor, said ticket sales shot up since Penang declared a special holiday for the eve of polling day.

“We have two buses on standby. Most of the bookings are for Perak, Kuala Lumpur and Johor,” she said, adding that many were returning home to vote and to enjoy the long weekend.

Another bus company operator, who wanted to be known only as Hamid, said they had seen a 50% spike in ticket sales.

“We expect an increase of at least 70% as extended holidays means more time to travel,” he said, adding that tickets were booked from the night of Nov 17.

A budget airline spokesperson said they saw a 20% increase in ticket bookings so far.

“People tend to book flights at the last minute and we expect more to do so.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob declared Nov 18 and 19 as public holidays in conjunction with GE15. Highways will also be toll-free on those days.

Hotels in the northern region, however, are not seeing any increase in reservations, which is hovering around the 50% mark.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang chapter chairman Tony Goh anticipates an increase in occupancy only during the school holidays in early December.

“Many do not go on holiday during a general election as they want to vote on polling day,” he added.

MAH Kedah and Perlis chapter chairman Eugene Dass said the occupancy rate was low as only parliamentary elections were being held.

“There will usually be a higher occupancy rate if state elections are also held, as many of the ministers, party leaders and their entourage will book rooms in advance to travel to Sungai Petani, Alor Setar, Kulim as well as to Langkawi and Perlis.

“Hoteliers are looking forward to the school holidays to see some good business.

“The elections this time around has not really been a catalyst,” said Eugene.

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tickets , elections , GE15

   

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