Vento Saudale, Ronna Nirmala & Lenny Tristia Tambun
As 5.6 million Jakartans have headed to their hometowns during this year’s end-of-Ramadan homecoming exodus known as mudik, many of those who chose to stay behind headed to major getaway sites on Tuesday.
Police in Bogor, just south of the capital, estimated that at least 90,000 people from Jakarta flooded the popular resort area Puncak for the Idul Fitri holiday. The Ciawi toll gate, the main access route from Jakarta, had to be closed at 5 p.m. on Tuesday after more than 60,000 vehicles crowded the Puncak-Cianjur road.
“We [closed the Puncak access] because it was overcrowded. To ease traffic we made the whole road one way, from Bogor city to Jakarta,” Bogor Police traffic unit chief Adj. Comr. Edwin Affandi said.
Traffic in Puncak ground to a halt for hours, creating queues up to eight kilometers in length. The influx of vehicles was exacerbated by a visit from Vice President Boediono, who staged an event at the Cipanas Presidential Palace.
“I’ve been stuck in traffic for two and a half hours starting just off the Ciawi toll gate,” said 38-year-old Widodo, who said he was planning to go to Wisata Matahari Park in Cisarua subdistrict.
An hour and a half later, he canceled his plans after realizing the traffic was not moving. “I give up. My family and I will head back to Jakarta,” he said.
Those who opted to stay in the capital found the streets virtually deserted — a stark contrast for Jakarta residents who battle crippling traffic congestion on a daily basis.
But the lull in Jakarta traffic was reportedly behind the death of Adaro Energy Indonesia corporate affairs director Andre Mamuaya at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday.
Jakarta Police enforcement chief Sr. Comr. Sudarmanto said Andre was racing his Ducati motorcycle on the traffic-free Jalan Sudirman when he collided with a Toyota Innova that was trying to make a left turn in front of Plaza Central. Andre skidded off his motorcycle before hitting his head on the road divider.
The Jakarta Population and Civil Records Agency reported that 5,653,487 Jakarta residents had made trips home, beginning about a week before Idul Fitri. The data was taken from information gathered at toll booths, terminals, airports, seaports, train stations and observation posts.
The majority of people chose to travel using private cars. The agency said 837,902 cars left town, while motorcycles were the second-most preferred method of transport, with 759,159 recorded.
“There is an increase in the number of people going to their hometowns compared with previous years,” agency chief Purba Hutapea said. Last year, 5.1 million people headed home for the holiday.
Purba expected that return trips would peak today as most employees and public officials return to work on Thursday.
But on Tuesday, the Gambir train station recorded that there were still 5,174 people heading out of the capital, while those returning to Jakarta numbered just 2,945.
Rapino Situmorang, a spokesman for train operator Kereta Api Indonesia, said return trips through Jakarta’s train stations would likely peak on Thursday.
A total of 323,201 people left Jakarta via trains, KAI recorded, less than half of the 744,000 travelers recorded last year.
“This year, we have a new policy, in which we will only provide tickets according to seat availability. So there is no more people standing up on board trains,” Rapino said. “This is for the passengers’ comfort.”
The Transportation Ministry recorded that more than 500 people were killed in road accidents this homecoming season, the majority of which involved motorcycles.
Ministry spokesman Bambang S. Ervan advised those making the return trip to choose other means of transportation. “It is better to use public transport and not use motorcycles. Hop on a bus or a train and have the motorcycle shipped,” he said.
Additional reporting by Bayu Marhaenjati & Markus Junianto Sihaloho