‘Vote migration’ creates density at bus terminals

‘Vote migration’ creates density at bus terminals

‘Vote migration’ creates density at bus terminals

With only a couple of days left before the May 14 presidential and parliamentary elections, bus terminals are jampacked with passengers returning to their districts to cast votes.

“Vote migration” usually happens from the metropolitan cities in the western part of the country to the eastern cities. This year, people from the southern provinces hit by the deadly Feb. 6 quakes are also moving to other cities to cast their votes.

Displaced quake survivors and university students are at the forefront of those who hit the road for election day, as per the transport sector representatives.

Expressing that the sector is witnessing an election migration, Turkish Bus Drivers Federation Chairman Birol Özcan underlined that they have never seen such a demand before.

“In general, 1,000 or 1,200 buses depart from Istanbul every day. However, we expect this number to reach 2,500 as of May 12,” Özcan explained.

Political parties also rented about 4,000 buses for voters and polling officials, Özcan added.

There will be traffic congestion at the exit of Istanbul on May 12 and 13, when thousands of buses will depart from the city, Özcan noted.

“We have put additional expeditions. All tickets are sold out. The parties also rented buses. A party is looking for 1,000 buses. It is quite difficult to find a bus now.”

“Normally, 40 percent of our capacity is idle, but now we have reached 100 percent. The ministry also gave permission. Just like on holidays, the police will not penalize the buses that lack documents,” Özcan said.

Meanwhile, the “suspended ticket” campaign is being organized for citizens whose voter registration is in the earthquake zone.

In the campaign implemented under the name of “suspended tickets,” donors can present bus tickets that will take earthquake victims to the provinces where their addresses are registered.

Nearly 12,000 ticket requests have been received from the quake survivors so far, said Mehmet Bilgiç, an official from Vote and Beyond Association, a civil movement mobilized to promote participative democracy in Türkiye.

“Around 8,000 of these demands were met by donors,” Bilgiç said.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) earlier announced that the presidency would meet the transportation costs of the quake survivors heading back to the region for the election.

The election intensity experienced on the highways is also seen on the air and railway lines.

Agencies pointed out the great demand for train services, especially in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir and the capital Ankara.

Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines announced that some adjustments have been made to the conditions of refund requests and reservation changes on tickets in order to facilitate the voting processes of Turkish citizens.

More than 64 million Turkish citizens will cast their votes on May 14.