It has been described as one of the largest migrations in the modern era. As 17 million people head to their hometowns for the upcoming Idul Fitri holiday, the country’s transportation infrastructure will be tested to the maximum.
By road, rail, air and sea, the millions heading home are hoping for a safe and smooth journey so they can enjoy the holiday with their loved ones. Large cities, in particular Jakarta, will empty out during the next few days.
In the past, police and other authorities have been ill-prepared for this exodus, leading to massive delays and accidents on the roads. In recent years, more people heading home, including entire families, have opted to go on motorbikes, leading to far too many fatal accidents.
This year, taking the lead to help ensure that those going home arrive there safely, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has instructed several of his cabinet ministers to make adequate preparations. We welcome this proactive move by the government.
“We should not approach it as something that’s routine or dismiss it out of hand,” Yudhoyono said. “We used to do that, and quite frequently, too, and that’s where problems can start when we take things too easy.”
The police have set up command posts along major routes to control and monitor traffic conditions while state-controlled railway company Kereta Api Indonesia said that it had added 3,284 seats a week before the holiday and stood ready to add more if necessary.
As the economy continues to expand, we can expect more people to travel during this annual migration. To cope with the increase, it is vital that the country continues to improve its transportation infrastructure. This way, we will ensure that all Indonesians have safe travels home.