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It has become a tradition over the last few years that thousands of holidaymakers utilize free homecoming trips for the Idul Fitri holidays, which are provided by several private companies and state enterprises.
The free homecoming trips were partly made possible thanks to cooperation between the Jakarta city administration and the private sector.
Major homecoming trip providers include herbal medicine producer PT Sido Muncul, Yamaha motorcycle producer and retailer Giant, and Indomaret.
Many holidaymakers utilizing the services were thankful for the free trips, as they could spend the Idul Fitri holidays with their families in their hometowns without thinking about transportation expenses.
For example, this year Indomaret has, for the third time, transported at least 8,000 holidaymakers from Jakarta, Surabaya and Malang (East Java). About 6,000 revelers left Jakarta on Aug. 16, traveling to a number of cities including Yogyakarta, Semarang and Surakarta in Central Java. The other 2,000 left from Surabaya and Malang for Yogyakarta, Trenggalek, Semarang, Banyuwangi and Sumenep.
Wiwiek Yusuf, marketing director of PT Indomarco Prismatama, said that as a part of the community, Indomaret strived to contribute by arranging the free homecoming trips for the government, especially the Jakarta city administration. “Over the last several years, the organization of the free homecoming trips has improved significantly, both in its handling and security,” Wiwiek said.
With this service, Wiwiek hoped that holidaymakers would be able to celebrate with their families, and return to Jakarta again to work more productively.
Someone who utilized the free homecoming trips was Hadi Sumarto, 45, who hails from Palar village, Trucuk district, Klaten regency in Central Java.
This year is the first time he utilized the free homecoming trip. He joined a service provided by Bank Jateng, in cooperation with the Central Java provincial administration.
Together with seven of his friends, Hadi registered for the service on the first week of the Ramadhan fasting month. “The requirement is very simple, namely showing my regional ID card,” said Hadi, who together with his friends, live in Bekasi.
The departure took place on Aug. 13 and all participants across Greater Jakarta were asked to gather at the Purna Bhakti Pertiwi Museum in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, East Jakarta.
Working as a laborer in Jakarta with unreliable income, Hadi was very thankful for the free homecoming trip. Aside from being comfortable (as the trips used air-conditioned buses), the money he saved could be given to his wife and children who live back in his village.
“If I use an ordinary bus, I have to spend between Rp 200,000 and Rp 400,000. As this is free, I can use the money for other needs,” Hadi said.
“As long as someone is from Central Java, he or she can join [the homecoming program],” said Hadi, explaining that it was different from other services, which were exclusively provided for employees of the providers.
Suratmi, 45, another person utilizing the free homecoming trip, was also satisfied with the service.
“This is the first time I have gone home without being accompanied by my husband. It is very convenient,” said Suratmi, who traveled with her child.
Suratmi was very happy with the service, because she was allocated two seats, even though her child was below 5 years old.
“Such a program is very beneficial for poor people like me,” she said.
Unfortunately, the program does not provide a return trip — it is only one way. Even so, Hadi and Suratmi are satisfied, and plan to use the same service again next year.