Monday, August 08, 2022

Travel agencies witness hike in ticket sales as people go home for Christmas

By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Dec 22, 2021 12:50 am
People waiting to board the bus at Supermarket in Dimapur on Monday. (EM Images)

Our Reporter

Dimapur, Dec. 20 (EMN): Travel agencies in Dimapur have witnessed a spike in ticket sales over the past few days as people flock the counters to buy tickets to go home for the festive season.

Among, a ticket seller at a Mon taxi booking counter, informed that all the seats for Mon-bound taxis and buses from Dimapur have been booked till December 22 and that they charge INR 820 per person.

Speaking to Eastern Mirror, a father informed that he was sending his 7-year-old son, Nampa, to Mon via Longleng since he could not get a direct ticket to Mon.

He said that his son would be going to the village with his uncle to meet his grandmother.

He informed that his son and uncle would walk from Longleng to Mon on foot, which would take them around six hours. He added that transportation was available from Longleng but it was ‘very expensive since it is on hire basis’.

Another passenger, Susang Imsong who was travelling to his native village Ungma in Mokokchung district, shared that his grandfather had called all the relatives of his clan for a feast and for a get-together this Christmas.

He added that he visits his village every year to reunite with his friends and family. Even though he is based in Dimapur, he shared that he was born and brought up in Mokokchung and ‘wherever he stays, the feeling of going home is always different and exciting’.

Longer, a ticket seller at the Mokokchung taxi counter, informed that they charge INR 850 per person for Tata sumo and the fare for bus night service is INR 650.

He informed that earlier, they used to carry 10 people per trip but it has been reduced to seven, adding that more than 20 vehicles travel to from Dimapur to Mokokchung daily.

He further informed that all seats of passenger vehicles have been booked till December 23, but this rush of passengers would last for just one or two weeks.

Longer informed that the business was much better two years ago, before the onset of pandemic. With the road condition improving, people travel in their own vehicles, he added.

He informed that during normal days, only four to five passengers travel per trip, incurring losses for the owners. ‘With all the expenses like fuel, driver salary and vehicle maintenance, it is very difficult to earn profit,’ he added.

Longer informed that February, March and October usually witness a dip in the number of passengers, while June, July and December see a rush.

When asked if SOPs are being followed, Longer informed that no one follows the correct SOP and it depends on individual to individual. 

‘Some people follow, while some do not care about SOP anymore,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Pangting Phom, who is working at a private firm in Dimapur, informed that he is visiting his native village after five years. He said that it was not easy to visit his parents in Longleng as it’s difficult to get leave in a private firm and also financially not viable to visit every time.

Expressing his excitement to spend Christmas with his parents and friends this year, he said it is the only time all his friends would come home and meet up.

More than 10 Tata sumos and two buses were travelling from Dimapur to Longleng, it was informed. The price of the ticket is INR 1000 for Tata sumo and INR 700 for bus. All the seats are said to be booked till December 23.

However, due to heavy rush of passengers, it was informed that they had to arrange one more bus service in order to accommodate the travellers, adding that the arrangement was just for ‘peak season’.

One of the caretakers of the pay-and-use washroom near the Tata sumo stand at Supermarket in Dimapur informed that ‘business is not that good’.

The 60-year-old caretaker informed that during this holiday season, many passengers and travellers passed by and so she was able to earn a little more compared to normal days. She said that till date, her highest earning was INR 4000 in a day, while it’s around INR 300 to INR 400 on normal days, in addition to her monthly salary of INR 4000.

Meanwhile, a person said that he to book a bus ticket to Longleng for December 23 as seats weren’t available for December 21.

He informed that he came to Dimapur for some work and was planning to return to his family for Christmas, but unfortunately had to extend his stay.

Like most travel agencies to different districts, all the passenger vehicles for Tuensang were also booked till December 23, according to Ajila, who has been working at Tuensang ticket counter since 2017.

She informed that the fare is INR 1200 per head and one more Tata sumo had been arranged for Tuensang but the price of ticket is INR 2000 per head since it is on a hire basis.

Ajila further informed that trip to Tuensang takes a toll on the engine of the vehicle as road condition is not good compared to other districts.

‘The vehicle has to be repaired after every trip and if the vehicle breaks down, they have to arrange it from their own pocket,’ she added.

Ajila added that the availability of vehicles on December 27 and 28 depends on the demand and if there were fewer passengers, they would not operate.

Similarly, the price of a ticket from Dimapur to Kiphire cost INR 1000, shared Achumba at a Kiphire ticket counter. He added that the fare to Meluri cost INR 1250 and INR 1300 to Pungro.

By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Dec 22, 2021 12:50:14 am