Jakarta Bracing for Mass Exodus Before Idul Fitri
The peak of the exodus out of the capital this Ramadan will occur two days before Idul Fitri, the holiday that marks the end of the Islamic holy month, the Jakarta city administration said on Wednesday.
Hasbi Hasibuan, the secretary of the Jakarta Transportation Office, said an estimated 2.24 million people this year were expected to leave the city for the hometown exodus, also known as mudik, up 7.4 percent from the 2.1 million last year.
The peak of the mudik will be on Sept. 8 for those traveling by road, train and air, which accounts for the vast majority of travelers. Meanwhile, the peak for those going by ship is expected to be Sept. 5.
Hasbi called on prospective travelers to arrange their trips early to avoid congested roads, packed trains and long lines at airport check-in counters.
He also said the city had prepared 6,114 intercity and interprovincial buses in anticipation of the demand, and had requisitioned another 522 buses from private operators as backup.
“All the buses must meet road-worthiness and emissions requirements, and they’ll also have their engines, brakes, tires and bodies checked,” he said, adding that the tests will be held until a week after Idul Fitri, which falls on Sept. 10 this year.
The city has also designated four bus terminals across the city as the main departure hubs for mudik travelers. These are Kampung Rambutan and Pulogadung in East Jakarta, Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta, and Kalideres in West Jakarta.
In order to minimize the surge in accidents that often occurs at this time of year, Hasbi said his office would conduct urine tests among bus drivers and conductors to check for drugs or alcohol. These tests will be held a week before and after Idul Fitri.
Azas Tigor Nainggolan, the chairman of the independent Jakarta Transportation Council, called on the administration to crack down on bus operators selling tickets for more than the government-mandated maximum price.
“The transportation office and the managers of the bus terminals must also do more to inform travelers about the various bus routes, fares and other information,” Azas said.
“This should all be done so that travelers don’t fall victim to exorbitantly high fares charged by scalpers.”
He also called on the traffic police to increase their presence along the main congestion points on the roads leading out of the capital.
“Police must also consistently persuade Jakartans against traveling by motorcycle, because it’s not an appropriate or safe vehicle for long-distance trips,” Azas said.
Motorcyclists account for most of the casualties in mudik traffic accidents, with entire families of four or more often riding together on a single motorbike.