Wednesday, September 8, 2010


      Jakarta, Sept 8, 2010 (ANTARA) - Most Indonesian Muslims observe the tradition of returning to their hometowns or villages to celebrate Idul Fitri - which this year falls on September 10 - with their families.
      During the Idul Fitri holiday season last year, the number of home-bound travelers reached about 27.25 million of which 16.2 million used various public transportation modes while the remaining 11.2 million used private cars and motorcycles throughout the country.

      Over the past few years, more and more home-bound travelers prefer to use motorcycles as it is less costly and quite fast but also less safe.
      This year, about 3.6 million Jakartans are estimated to return to their home towns for Idul Fitri festivities on motorcycles, according to the Jakarta metropolitan police.
      Jakarta Police spokesman Senior Commissioner Boy Rafli Amar said in Jakarta recently that this year`s number increased from last year`s 3.1 million motorcyclists who left from Jakarta to various cities in Java and Sumatra for celebrating Idul Fitri festivities.
       These Idul Fitri travelers were strongly suggested not to ride motorcycles for the sake of their own safety. "Riding motorcycles is quite risky. Most traffic accidents involve motorcycles,"he said.
       If they should go by motorbikes, they should not load the motorcycles with more than two people and too much baggage, he said.
       For the sake of the motorists` own safety, the police would impose severe sanctions on traffic rule violations, including carrying more than two people on one motorbike, he said.
      "Errant motorists will get a fine," he said adding that motorists going home in groups were advised to ask for a police escort car on their way to their destination.

To help minimize traffic accidents involving motorcycles, state-run railway company PT KAI provided two trains that can accommodate 4,000 motorbikes, from Aug. 31 until September 4, 2010.

"The Idul Fitri transportation service for motorcycles started on Sept 1, and some 1,528 motorcycles were transported up to Sept 4," Mateta Rizalulhaq, a spokesman of PT KAI, said here recently.

PT KAI charges Rp200,000 per motorbike and Rp43,000 per passenger for economy-class seats.

Kompas daily reported on Tuesday (Sept. 7), PT KAI this year transported only 1,587 motorbikes or down 25 percent of the number in 2009.

"Police regret the decline. Indeed the special train for motorbikers community is not perfect, but it shows the government`s determination to improve safety for travelers," Adjunct Senior Commissioner Heru Tri Sasono said on Monday (Sept. 6) as quoted by Kompas.

He recalled that of the total of 1,646 traffic accidents during the Idul Fitri exodus in 2009, about 75 percent involved motorbikes.

Mateta suspected that motorbikers considered the tariff of Rp200,000 per motorbike too expensive.

Apart from the government, at least two major automotive companies, namely Honda and Yamaha, also helped organize home-bound traveling in groups for motorbikers.

The companies provide trucks to transport motorcycles and buses to accommodate owners and passengers of the motorbikes to their hometowns from Jakarta.

Motorcycle maker PT Astra Honda Motor transported around 1,000 motorbikes from Jakarta and Surabaya to Semarang (Central Java) and Yogyakarta.

"This is our way to help minimize traffic accidents involving motorcycles during the Idul Fitri home-bound traveling season," Julius Aslan, marketing director of PT Astra Honda Motor (AHM), said when seeing off 20 trucks carrying the motorbikes last Sunday (Sept. 5).

Around 2,000 motorbike`s owners and passengers were provided with 65 buses to go to their hometowns on Tuesday (Sept 7), he said.

Another major motorcycle company, Yamaha, provided the services for free for around 971 home-bound travelers with destinations Yogyakarta and Semarang (Central Java) on Sunday and Monday (Sept. 5 and 6). While their motorbikes (about 488 units) were transported by trucks a day earlier.

Julius Aslan said the provision of buses for the holiday travelers to return together was organized as part of the company`s social responsibility to its workers and customers so that they could enjoy a pleasant and safe journey home.


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(T.F001/A/F001/F001) 08-09-2010 13:20:00

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