Bayu Marhaenjati & ID/Tri Listiyarini
Free homecoming trips, known as mudik, offered by several state-owned enterprises and private sectors by land and sea, are hoping to bring down the accident tolls on the road during this year’s Idul Fitri holidays, particularly those involving motorcycles along the north coast of Java.
Transportation Deputy Minister Bambang Susantono, said the free mudik programs were designed to help people get to their hometowns safely and comfortably. Traffic accidents during last year’s homecoming season were dominated by motorcycles, which made up 71 percent of all accidents. An estimated 17 million people are expected to travel home this year, with more than 1.3 million of them using a motorcycle.
“The number of homecoming travelers using motorcycles is huge and we pay attention to this because motorcycles are the most vulnerable to accidents,” Bambang said. “We really hope that with some of the motorcycle users shifting to bus and ship through the free mudik program we can bring down the accident rate.”
Bambang sent off 1,738 homecoming travelers and 938 motorcycle units on a state-run ship to Banda Aceh on Thursday, a program initiated by the Transportation Ministry and the Indonesian Navy.
The ship will carry the travelers in two batches, on Aug. 16 and 18 from Tanjung Priok port, Jakarta, to Tanjung Emas port, Semarang.
The deputy minister also sent off homecoming travelers, who were taking buses provided by state-run port operator Pelabuhan Indonesia II. The company provided 110 buses to accommodate 6,000 people who were headed to Solo, Purwokerto, Pacitan, Semarang, Pekalongan, Surabaya, Malang, Sumatra, Indramayu, Kuningan and Yogyakarta.
Passengers were also covered with insurance provided by Jasa Rahardja and received free medical service.
The Jakarta Police Traffic Division stopped homecoming travelers on motorcycles with overloaded passengers. The passengers were offered bus rides provided by the police instead.
“We’ve set up check points in Bekasi and Tangerang. The check points were set up because there were [violations on the number of passengers],” said Dwi Sigit Nurmantyas, Jakarta Police Traffic Unit director. “We would stop anyone carrying three or four people and we put the wives and their children on the bus and let the fathers continue with the motorcycle. Yesterday we put passengers on two buses at the Bekasi check point which borders with West Java.”
Police will continue to stop motorcycles with overloaded passengers until the day before Idul Fitri, providing 15 buses to carry the excess passengers.
The National Police have already reported some 340 fatalities from road accidents across the country on the eighth day of its “Ketupat Operation” which increased patrols and security around the Idul Fitri exodus in anticipation of heavy traffic and excessive accidents.
“There have been 1,995 road accidents throughout Indonesia since we launched the Ketupat Operation — the death toll is 340, while the number of badly injured victims is 487,” National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said.
Boy said the figure was 10 percent higher than the 307 deaths recorded during the first eight days of last year’s operation, but the number of accidents was 3 percent lower.