City gears up for Lebaran exodus
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The city’s authorities held a joint meeting on Thursday to set up preparations for the Idul Fitri exodus next month, when more than 7 million Jakartans are expected to leave for their hometowns in what some cite as one of the largest annual outflows in the world.
Senior Jakarta Police officers and top officials from the city’s transportation agency and the city’s branch of state railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) were present at the meeting, which was held at city police headquarters.
Jakarta Transportation Agency chief Udar Pristono said that due to the historically high numbers of accidents during the mass migration, he urged homebound travelers not to use motorcycles to reach their hometowns.
“We have prepared 7,200 public buses, spread out over four main bus terminals and 10 support terminals. I assure you, there is enough room to accommodate all travelers who are still planning to ride motorcycles in the exodus.”
The four main terminals are Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta, Kampung Rambutan and Pulo Gadung in East Jakarta, and Kalideres in West Jakarta.
Idul Fitri festivities, held after the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan, are expected to fall on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20 this year.
According to the transportation agency’s estimates, there will be some 1.2 million motorcyclists in this year’s exodus.
Another 3.7 million are expected to take private vehicles, while another 2.1 million will utilize public transportation, including airplanes, trains and public buses.
“We will conduct urine tests on bus drivers at bus terminals to ensure that their bodies are free of any dangerous substances before they start their journeys out of town,” Udar said.
The agency also plans to establish checkpoints along the city’s outskirts to watch for unsafe public buses and stop them from leaving the city.
“The posts will also stop travelers on motorbikes who are carrying too many people or goods. We will advise them to take the public buses instead,” he said.
PT KAI Jakarta senior manager of commerce Joko Sri Martoyo said that his office had prepared 10 additional trains to handle demand during the exodus period. “We usually handle 21,778 passengers per day. During the period, we expect a daily surge of 6,250 passengers,” he said. “We increased the number of trains from 48 to 58 to anticipate this.”
PT KAI Jakarta estimates 540,125 passengers will use their services to head home for the holidays this year, a 13 percent decrease from last year’s 620,617 passengers.
Joko added that all seats on trains leaving Jakarta from five days before Idul Fitri to six days after the holiday were completely sold out.
Jakarta Police chief of operations Sr. Comr. Agung Budi Maryoto said that the city police would deploy 8,000 officers to safeguard homebound travel in an operation dubbed the “Ketupat Jaya Operation”, referring to the rhombus-shaped rice cakes synonymous with the holidays.
The operation is scheduled to start on Aug. 10 and finish on Aug. 26.
“Our force in the operation will comprise 3,276 officers from the city police headquarters and another 4,724 from the police offices in municipalities and regencies in Greater Jakarta,” Agung said in his speech.
He said that 300 public order officers, 90 military police officers, 300 officials from the transportation agency, 30 from the city’s fire brigade and 100 officials from toll road operator PT Jasamarga would also help the police in safeguarding the exodus.
In order to maintain the city’s security throughout the holiday season, the police also plan to establish 126 security posts that will be open around the clock throughout Greater Jakarta.
“The spots [where the posts will be established] include flood-prone areas, crime-prone neighborhoods, street race spots, as well as vital objects like airports, seaports, bus terminals, trains stations and markets,” he said.