Myanmar migrant workers, mainly from Thailand, are now returning home via land borders and finding the woes of travelling during festive season awaiting them.
Thousands of workers had reportedly returned home; at least a total of over 51,000 people had come through during a time period of April 5 to April 8 via the Friendship Bridge connecting Myawady and Thailand.
Despite Myawady being a hotbed of border trade and traveling migrant workers, it does not have a dedicated highway car gate, meaning that current extant transportation services are unable to cope with the high spike in demand.
Many of such bus services will also be closing temporarily for the Thingyan Period, bringing the demand even higher.
There have also been reports that despite announcements and warnings for transportation service operators to not mark-up prices, desperate migrant workers seeking to return home in time are opting and/or willing to pay double or triple the amounts due to the severe lack of transportation back home.
This also leads to many people running unlicensed private vehicles to take advantage of the situation.
There currently are 22 operators from Myawady to Yangon, 2 to Nay Pyi Taw, 2 to Taunggyi, 6 to Mandalay, 12 to Taungoo, 1 to Pathein and 1 to Monywa.
As per usual, prices of general commodities (Rice, Oil, Meat, etc) had also seen at least 20 to 30 percent hike in prices due to the slowdown or lack of trade, businesses looking to open in Thingyan stocking up on commodities in order to operate as well as people buying at least one week’s worth of food stuff to survive through the water festival period.