Kuching Sentral more subdued with fewer bus passengers ‘balik kampung’ on Christmas Eve

Counters at Kuching Sentral Bus Terminal. Photo taken on Dec 24, 2023.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, Dec 24: With just one more day left before Christmas, Kuching Sentral Bus Terminal has become quieter with only an small number of bus passengers experiencing the adrenaline of ‘balik kampung’ (return to hometowns) at the last minute.

Marina Kadir.

Bus Asia operator Marina Kadir said bus tickets to the central and northern regions of Sarawak were sold out for the dates of Dec 21 to 23 but ticket sales for Dec 24 and 25 showed that there are still vacant seats available.

As of this afternoon, she said, there was only one more Bus Asia vehicle scheduled to take off at 5pm today.

Most of the passengers, she said, bought their tickets online and as early as Dec 1 which may have contributed to them planning their journey ahead—knowing their departure time and need not having to wait for long hours at the terminal.

“On Thursday until Saturday (Dec 21 to 23), we had many customers who approached the counters to buy the tickets just before the bus took off shortly after. We even had to mobilise additional buses to cope with the unexpected demand.

“Today (Dec 24), we did not have that issue and we still have vacant seats for any last-minute passengers,” she said when interviewed at the bus terminal earlier today.

DayakDaily also had the opportunity to speak with a few bus passengers waiting at the terminal.

Alicia Silvia

College student Alicia Silvia, 19, said she had booked a bus ride to return to her hometown in Nanga Kalai, Selangau for the Christmas holiday.

“However, the bus will stop at Betong Bus Terminal and my family member will pick me up there. From the bus terminal, we will have to drive for three hours before we reach our village,” she said.

Sharing her plans for Christmas, Alicia said she will make a good use of her holiday to relax and clear her mind before returning to Kuching to sit for final exams.

Balayun Jana (right) photographed with his family at Kuching Sentral Bus Terminal on Dec 24, 2023.

Meanwhile, Balayun Jana, 51, who works in Johor in an offshore job was with his wife and daughter enroute to his hometown in Sare, Sarikei.

“My family and I have been residing in Johor the last 23 years. We only return to Sarawak to visit our hometown during Gawai celebration.

“This is my first time returning to my hometown to celebrate Christmas with my family in Sarikei after a long while,” he pointed out.

Bus passengers loading their items onto the designated bus on Kuching Sentral Bus Terminal on Dec 24, 2023.

— DayakDaily