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Traffic jam: (JP/Jerry Adiguna)
When the traffic starts to get heavy again, everyone knows the holiday is over. Now is the time for Jakartans to prepare to deal once again with the capital’s horrendous traffic.
Some Jakartans have prepared strategies to beat the traffic and overcome the post-Idul Fitri holidays hangover.
Dinita Andriani Putri, who lives in Tebet, South Jakarta, said she was planning to leave for work on Monday far earlier than usual to avoid the morning rush.
“I usually go to work at 8 a.m., but on Monday I’m planning to leave at 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m. at the latest to avoid the congestion, as I need to get to my office in Pejaten earlier,” said Dinita, who usually takes around an hour to reach her office.
That way, she said, she could also try to get back home earlier because she needed to help her grandmother take care of the house as her two housemaids would be in their hometowns until Thursday.
During Idul Fitri, many families who stay in Jakarta have to do their own housework while their housemaids visit their families in their hometowns. Some people, however, choose to hire temporary housemaids, locally referred to as infal, from domestic-help agencies.
Unlike Dinita, who plans to leave for work earlier, Raden Joko Sampurno plans to arrive at the office a little later, also as a way to avoid chronic traffic congestion.
“I think the traffic will be back to normal on Monday, with the usual rush-hour traffic jams. But because my office is quite flexible regarding working hours, I’m planning to arrive at around 10 a.m. and go home a little later, too,” he said.
“I’m definitely going to miss the slow and deserted Jakarta, where you can get to so many places in one day — something that is rarely possible on regular days.”
Some of Jakarta’s busiest areas experienced unusually light traffic during the Idul Fitri holidays, in a city abandoned by many Jakartans who were away on holiday and business.
In other areas, however, especially areas popular with tourists, traffic remained heavy. Road accidents also continued to occur, despite the relatively quiet Jakarta streets. The Jakarta Police recorded 15 accidents between Aug. 19 and Aug. 21 that claimed four lives and injured 22 people.
One crash victim was coal miner PT Adaro Energy’s corporate affairs director Andre Mamuaya who was killed in a motorcycle accident on Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta.
But Joko is not only concerned about the traffic. The IT engineer is also making plans to warm up his brain.
“I know it will be very hard for me to get back to work after having more than a week of vacation. So, I’ll start by checking my pending tasks, and determine my priorities before I fully focus on starting work the second day,” Joko said.
But not all Jakartans have the luxury of flexible working hours. Those who don’t, opt to just endure the traffic.
Galuh Kartika said she had no specific strategy to beat the traffic on Monday when most businesses resumed work.
“Traffic has been part of my daily life, so if the heavy traffic starts tomorrow [Monday], I’ll go with it. I just hope taxis will be more readily available, because I heard that taxis were scarce here during the holiday,” Galuh said.
Thousands of people have been returning to Jakarta since Friday after spending the Idul Fitri holidays in their hometowns.
The influx of people traveling by train peaked on Saturday, with between 25,000 and 28,000 passengers boarding trains and making stops at Bekasi, Gambir, Jatinegara, Kota, Pasar Senen and Tanah Abang.
The peak number of travelers returning to the city in private vehicles was also recorded on Saturday, with more than 75,000 vehicles passing along the east route — via Ciasem and Sadang — and the south route — via Cisarua and Curug — into Jakarta.
The Jakarta Population and Civil Registration Agency predicted a total of 36,847 newcomers to Jakarta would also arrive in the city at the end of the holiday season, a 37.77 percent decrease from last year’s figure of 51,875. The number of newcomers has continually decreased over the past five years.