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Bus, railway stations crammed as holiday nears JAKARTA - With just three full days before the kick off of Idul Fitri celebrations on Nov. 25, thousands of migrants living in Jakarta began to overstretch the limits of the airport, seaports, bus terminals and train stations, not to mention the main highways leading out of town to Central Java and East Java, as they rushed to get back to their hometowns in time for the holidays.
The Soekarno-Hatta International Airport assisted a total of 41,262 passengers in getting away from the overcrowded capital on Friday, a 24 percent increase over the same time last year. Three airlines, Garuda, Batavia Air and Merpati, have scheduled additional flights to certain destinations outside Java. The rising number of passengers was triggered by the low price of air tickets which is only slightly higher than most land transportation.
An airport officer, Hutabarat, said on Friday that there were no major problems with the increase of passengers. At Pulogadung bus terminal in East Jakarta, some 10,556 passengers departed on 203 buses mostly destined for a variety of towns in Central Java. "The number of passengers and buses increased compared to yesterday. But there's no need yet for additional buses," said Pardjiman, head of the bus terminal. He said that the peak would be on Saturday.
Last year, the terminal had its peak five days before the Idul Fitri when 29,965 passengers departed on 616 buses. A high jump in passenger numbers also occurred at Lebak Bulus bus terminal in South Jakarta and Gambir train station in Central Jakarta. The bus terminal dispatched around 11,000 homeward bound passengers on 275 buses, leaving for Yogyakarta, Purwokerto and Surakarta in Central Java. That is a 10 percent increase from Thursday.
Head of Gambir train station, Besar Susmiarto, said the station saw over 15,000 passengers depart on Friday. The figure was a 20 percent increase over the same period last year. However, the increasing passenger numbers also meant similar increases in the number of crimes committed.
Nur Aliyah, who tried to get into a bus heading for her village of Pekalongan, Central Java, at the Kampung Rambutan bus terminal, reported to police that she had Rp 300,000 (US$35) in cash stolen. Police there, responded by saying they would not deploy more personnel although three other people filed reports that they had been drugged by strangers who took their money and belongings.
National Police chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar and Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Makbul Padmanagara monitored the situation at bus terminals and train stations from a helicopter. Police would also monitor city roads and toll roads heading outside Jakarta during the annual exodus. The Directorate General of Land Transportation also told all cargo trucks and vans to take a detour from Java's northern highway to the southern coastal highway.
Trucks carrying construction materials, trailers and containers are restricted from operation until Nov. 25 except those transporting fuel, basic commodities and postal cargo. In Indramayu, West Java, thousands of vehicles were stranded in a 20-kilometer long logjam. It began to get congested on Thursday at 9 a.m. as many vendors occupied one of the two lanes in front of a makeshift market.
Indramayu Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Johni Soeroto said that the massive traffic jam was still normal. "We are trying hard to minimize the congestion," he said. Spokesman for state-run toll operator PT Jasa Marga in Palikanci toll road in Cirebon, Fauziah, said that the number of vehicles had been increasing since Thursday. "Usually between 7,000 and 10,000 vehicles pass this toll road every day. Starting yesterday, the number jumped to 15,000. We expect around 30,000 vehicles will pass on Sunday and another 40,000 on Monday," she said.
In Yogyakarta, the number of train and bus passengers has increased by 30 percent. PT KAI's Yogyakarta spokesman, Purnomo, said that less than 200 passengers stopped at Wates or Kulonprogo station but the number had doubled. While in Umbulharjo bus terminal, the number of passengers reached 22,169 people, an increase from Thursday's 20,412, said head of the terminal Asung Waluyo.



Posted in Ramadan @ 21 November 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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