Saturday, July 4, 2015


 Jakarta, July 4, 2015 (Antara) -- Most Indonesian Muslims follow the tradition of celebrating the Islamic festival of Eid Fitr, known as Idul Fitri in the country, in their hometowns with their families. 
   As a result, there is an exodus of travelers, particularly from cities to villages, during this time of the year.
        In 2015, the government has estimated that the number of homebound travelers will reach some 20 million, an increase of around 2 percent from that last year.
        While they usually use sea, land, or air means of transportation, some choose to travel by private vehicles, including motorcycles.
        Over the last few years, the number of homebound travelers opting to use motorcycles has increased as it allows for a cheap and speedy commute.
        However, traveling long distances on motorbikes with two or more family members riding pillion and carrying baggage is highly unsafe.

        In the exodus of travelers for Idul Fitri in 2013, police recorded 719 fatalities from traffic accidents, which was a decline from the 908 recorded the previous year.
        Over the last few years, the government has encouraged homebound travelers to not use motorcycles for their long journeys home. For this purpose, it has provided free rides to motorcyclists heading home for the holidays.
        Private companies have also been urged to offer free buses to transport their low-income holidaymakers so they can return to their hometowns.   
   Indonesian Muslims, who account for around 90 percent of the country's population, began observing the holy month of Ramadan on June 18. At the end of the fasting month, on July 17 or 18, they will celebrate Idul Fitri.  
   The Jakarta Police has estimated that the number of motorcyclists traveling during Idul Fitri in 2015 will reach 2 million, which is a decline of some 500 thousand from that the previous year.      
   "In 2014, the total number of motorcyclists was 2.5 million," Deputy Chief of the Jakarta Police Brigadier General Nandang Jumantara said recently.
        The drop in the number of homebound motorcyclists is a result of the free rides udik being offered by a number of companies and government agencies, he stated.
        "State-owned shipping firm PT Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia and the state-owned railway operator are also providing free rides," he affirmed.
        Both companies are scheduled to transport thousands of travelers to Java's northern coastal highway (Pantura) and its surroundings, with their departure points at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah and Bung Karno Sports Complex in Senayan.
        Also, the Transportation Ministry has allocated Rp36 billion in the state budget for 2015 to provide motorcyclists and pillion riders free homebound rides ahead of the Idul Fitri Islamic holidays.
        To reduce the number of homebound travelers using motorcycles, the ministry will provide trucks, trains and ships to transport motorcyclists and their co-passengers to their destinations for free, Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan noted here on Thursday.
        While the ministry had opened online registration from June 1 to June 30, those interested in the free rides could register offline from June 15 to July 1.
        More than 20,000 motorcycles were registered, of which 3,100 motorcycles will be transported by trucks, 9,000 by trains, and 10,000 by ships.
        The Transportation Ministry had announced its plan to offer the free travel program for homebound motorcyclists through print and electronic media a month ago, the minister pointed out.
        Motorcyclists are the focus of the ministry's program because the number of traffic accidents involving them has always been the highest, Jonan explained.
        In addition, the minister hopes that the number of traffic accidents involving motorcycles drops this year.
        For the homeward bound, the ministry is ready to transport 6,440 passengers by bus and 2,880 motorcycles by trucks.
        For inbound travelers, the ministry will follow the contraflow system after Idul Fitri to transport 400 motorcycles by trucks and 920 passengers by bus for free. 
   The destinations include Purwokerto, Kebumen, Wonosobo, Magelang, Solo, Wonogiri, and Tegal in Central Java and Yogyakarta.
        Furthermore, the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) will deploy two Landing Platform Dock warships, KRI Surabaya-591 and KRI Banda Aceh-593, to offer free rides to motorcyclists heading to Semarang (Central Java province) and Surabaya (East Java province) for Idul Fitri celebrations.
        Jakarta's homebound travelers using motorbikes can travel to Semarang or Surabaya by the navy's warships for free, a spokesman for the TNI AL, First Admiral Manahan Simorangkir, said recently.
        "Homebound motorcyclists traveling with their wives, children and baggage face greater risks of traffic accidents," he pointed out.
        Therefore, he urged motorcyclists to opt for the free rides being offered by the navy.
        The TNI AL will provide them food and souvenirs aboard the ships during their journey home, he added.
        KRI Surabaya-591 will leave Tanjung Priok Port in northern Jakarta for Tanjung Perak Port in Surabaya, East Java province, on July 11.
        Rides for the inbound route from Surabaya to Jakarta will be provided on July 21.
        KRI Banda Aceh-593 will depart Tanjung Priok Port for Tanjung Emas Port in Semarang, Central Java province, on July 13 and will return to Jakarta on July 24.
        Online registration for the free ride began on June 1 and stayed opened till June 30 on
        Commuters can also register directly at the Transportation Ministry's office at Medan Merdeka Barat No. 8, Central Jakarta, from June 15 to July 8.
        Both KRI Banda Aceh-593 and KRI Surabaya-591 can carry up to 1,000 motorcycles and 1,500 people.
        Moreover, the Transportation Ministry has extended the operation period of Idul Fitri transport services this year to 26 days from the earlier period of 14 days.
        This year's Idul Fitri transport services will operate from July 2, which is 15 days before Idul Fitri (D-15), to July 27, nine days after Idul Fitri (D+9), Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan affirmed while launching an Idul Fitri command post recently.
        As means of transportation for sea routes need a longer operation period, it has been extended, he explained.
        Also, the ministry has tightened supervision of flow of traffic of air, land and water modes of transport.
        Jonan hopes that this year, the exodus of travelers is smoother, thanks to the completion of the Cikopo-Palimanan (Cipali) toll road.

(T.F001/A/BESSR/A. Abdussalam) 04-07-2015 17:31:47

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