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Back in the city: Idul Fitri travelers arrive at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on Saturday. The number of travelers coming back to Jakarta that day reached 140,000 people. JP/Nurhayati
Thousands of people returning to the capital city after spending the Idul Fitri holidays with family in their hometowns began arriving at bus depots, train stations and seaports throughout the city on Saturday.
The influx of returning travelers and new migrants was expected to peak over the weekend as most Jakartans will return to work and school on Monday.
“We estimate that 14,000 people will arrive on Saturday and Sunday,” Suarta Sebayang, head of the Lebak Bulus bus depot in South Jakarta, said on Saturday.
About 12,000 train passengers arrived at Senen train station in Central Jakarta on Saturday, a spokesman for state-owned railway company PT KAI, Mateta Rijalulhaq, said. He noted that only about 4,000 to 6,000 passengers arrived at the station between Tuesday and Friday. “According to the number of seats booked, the influx of people traveling by train peaked on Saturday with 25,000 to 28,000 passengers boarding trains and making stops at Bekasi, Jatinegara, Pasar Senen, Gambir, Tanah Abang and Kota.”
The Transportation Ministry estimated that number of private vehicles making their way to the capital would also peak on Saturday. As of midday on Saturday, 75,000 vehicles were seen passing through the east route — through Ciasem and Sadang — and the south route — through Cisarua and Curug — to Jakarta, ministry spokesman Bambang S. Ervan said as quoted by tribunnews.com. “More vehicles, especially motorcycles, will pass through the routes on Saturday night,” Bambang said.
The Population and Civil Registration Agency released data on Saturday, showing that 59 percent of the city’s population, or about 6 million people, were going on Idul Fitri exodus this year.
The agency’s data showed that a total of approximately 400,000 people boarded airplanes in the exodus, 400,000 used buses, 300,000 used trains and 13,000 boarded ships while the rest used private vehicles, as approximately 830,000 cars and 759,000 motorcycles were seen leaving the capital.
Last year, data for the holiday season showed a total of 6.31 million people made the journey home. The bulk of them, more than 4.95 million, made the trip in private vehicles, while only 2.28 million used public transportation.
The National Police announced on Saturday that 820 people had died between Aug. 11 and Aug. 24 in holiday travel throughout the country, rising 16 percent from last year.
“Data shows that 4,701 traffic accidents took place between Aug. 11 and Aug. 24, resulting in 820 deaths and 1,336 people who sustained heavy injuries,” National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar told reporters.
Meanwhile, Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo made visits to the Kampung Rambutan terminal and Senen train station to inspect the management of inflows of returning travelers. The governor said the city administration would not make it difficult for migrants to settle in Jakarta if they could fulfill the requirements. “Jakarta is not a closed city and it never will be,” he said.
The population agency had said that it was predicting a total of 36,847 newcomers at the end of the holiday season, a 37.77 percent decrease from last year’s number of 51,875.
The number of post-holiday newcomers has continually decreased over the past five years. According to the agency, there were 109,617 post-holiday newcomers in 2007; 88,473 in 2008; 69,554 in 2009; 60,000 in 2010 and 51,875 last year.
Analysts say that Jakarta is no longer seen as the only place to make a better living. Some migrants are now heading to Jakarta’s thriving satellite cities such as Tangerang, Bekasi and Depok, where cost of living is relatively cheap.