Thousands of homebound travelers decided to stay the night at Bakauheni Port in Lampung due to high crime along the Trans-Sumatra highway, despite the Lampung Police deploying snipers in a number of crime-prone areas along the route to ensure the travelers' security.
Those traveling by motorcycles and public transportation modes will only resume their journey to their respective hometowns in Sumatra the next morning as they avoid traveling at night.
'Staying the night at Bakauheni Port is safer due to the presence of many police officers. We're also afraid to arrive at Rajabasa bus terminal late at night because it's prone to crime,' said Sofyan, 27, a traveler from Lahat, South Sumatra, on Monday.
'We once experienced intimidation by thugs at the terminal and the police didn't do anything. My relatives once were victims of extortion inside a stationary bus at Rajabasa terminal at night,' he added.
A homebound traveler from Mesuji, Lampung, Suyadi, 43, claimed that he had opted to spend the night at the port because he was traveling with his young children, and given the long distance from the port to his home village.
'We might be able to take a bus from Bakauheni to Rajabasa terminal, but there is no guarantee we can get a bus from the terminal to Mesuji. We're afraid of staying the night at the terminal,' said Suyadi.
State-owned seaport operator PT ASDP Indonesia Ferry has provided two large rest places that can accommodate thousands of travelers.
PT Ferry Indonesia Bakauheni branch general manager Yanus Lentanga said Bakauheni Port had become chaotic and crowded as many travelers spent the night at the port.
'We're suggesting travelers to immediately resume their journeys, even though they arrive at the port at night. The Lampung Police have provided buses at the Rajabasa terminal to carry passengers to various regencies in Lampung. We understand the safety issue faced by those who take motorcycles, because the journey from Bakauheni to Bandarlampung is apparently unsafe at night,' said Yanus.
Separately, in Central Java, rest areas for homebound travelers can be found everywhere along the Java northern coastal highway ( Pantura ).
In Tegal, for instance, rest areas are located at the Promotion and Business Information Center on Jl. Kol. Sugiono and at several locations along the Pantura, including the Pring Sewu Restaurant, while others can be found between Pekalongan and Batang, such as at traffic command posts. In Kudus, the rest areas can be found at every gas station and police station.
'We have turned every gas station and police station into a rest area,' said Kudus Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Murdoko.
In Semarang, some of the rest areas are managed by churches.
'Four churches are working to set up two rest areas ahead of Idul Fitri. This is the sixth year we have provided for Idul Fitri travelers,' said Rev. Rahmat Paskah Rajagukguk.
At the rest areas, which are organized by the Indonesian Christian Church and named the Peduli Kasih Rest Areas, travelers can take a rest on mattresses, eat and drink for free, and get a free massage. Church youths are also handing over bottled drinks to motorists who do not wish to stop along the road.