At Giap Bat bus station, one of the four major bus stations in Hanoi, many buses depart with only a few passengers on board.

The waiting room for passengers of Giap Bat bus station is almost left empty.

All ticket counters are desolate, with ticket sales staff longing for passengers.

Buses depart on time but they carry only four or five passengers each.

“Never before has taking a bus on the days leading up to Tet been as leisurely as it is now,” says a passenger.

“It’s time to depart, but there are only two passengers on this bus,” says a passenger.

“The number of passengers is even less than usual, forcing us to reduce the frequency of operations,” says Nguyen Viet Dung, manager of a bus company operating the Thanh Hoa-Hanoi route.

Traditional buses are facing huge competition from limousines that can pick up and drop off passengers at home. Despite the high prices, many people prefer traveling by limousines for convenience and comfort.

Bus stations expect the demand will increase in a couple of days when employees take time off work and return home to celebrate Tet. The Tet holiday this year lasts from February 8 to 14.