Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - Traveling by train to cities in Java Island remains popular among Indonesians who are keen to celebrate this year's Christmas and New Year holiday season, according to Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi.

Sumadi, however, admitted that the number of passengers got decreased up to six to eight percent over these past two days compared to that of the same days in 2018.

"This downward trend is just recorded at short-distance travels, such as Jakarta-Cirebon and Jakarta-Pekalongan," he was quoted by ANTARA from the ministry's official website as saying here on Sunday.

Instead, the number of passengers for long-distance routes, including those of Jakarta-Solo and Jakarta-Yogyakarta, remains high. "We still need to look at this trend in a week," he said.

The downward trend of the train passengers who make short-distance trips might partly be caused by those wanting to try passing by the Jakarta-Cikampek elevated toll road that President Joko Widodo had just inaugurated, he said.

A recent study of the Transportation Ministry's Research and Development Division revealed that 48 percent of 2,500 respondents preferred traveling by car to traveling by train during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, he added.

Meanwhile, train operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) earlier revealed that it would operate 114 train trips daily to serve passengers during the Christmas and New Year holiday season.

"For this year, the transportation period for Christmas and New Year has been made effective for 18 days. It begins on December 19, 2019, and ends on January 5, 2020," Executive Vice President of PT KAI's Jakarta Operational Area I, Dadan Rudiansyah, said.

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To meet the needs of passengers during the holiday season, PT KAI has also readied facilities and human resources to ensure smooth and safe journeys.

PT KAI's Jakarta Operational Area I will also operate 13 additional trains for this year's Christmas and New Year holiday season.

Eight of them would depart from Gambir Station, while five others would leave from Pasar Senen Station, Rudiansyah said.

During this holiday season, the trips would be undertaken by trains such as Argo Sindoro (62F) for Gambir-Semarang Tawang, Taksaka (98F) for Gambir-Yogyakarta, Argo Dwipangga (60F) for Gambir-Solo, and Argo Muria (64F) for Gambir-Semarang Tawang.

The train operator will provide 73,002 seats per day, he said, adding that the volume of passengers is predicted to increase to 103.6 percent compared to last year, when the total number of passengers was recorded at 70,426 people.

PT KAI operated 346 regular train trips and 48 additional train trips to serve people who were keen to use railroad services during the year-end holiday period.

For 2018, the total number of trains ready to serve the community during the Christmas period was 394. This number increased by five percent compared to the 2017 Christmas period, when it was 375 trains (335 regular trains and 40 additional trains).

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Reporter: Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019