Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Transportation Ministry is revving up preparations in various aspects to ensure that the 2023 Eid al-Fitr homecoming and return movement will be safe, secure, and under control.

Minister Budi Karya Sumadi stated that this year's Eid homecoming movement, expected in April, will be more challenging than the previous years, as up to 80 million people movements are forecast during the period.

"The predicted surge is because of the declining cases of COVID-19, no more public activities restrictions (PPKM), and improving economic conditions," Sumadi noted, as per the statement here Friday.

The ministry has taken various measures to prepare for the Eid homecoming movement, such as researching potential movements during Eid al-Fitr and performing ramp checks on land, sea, and air transportation modes.

He remarked that evaluations of the preparations made for transportation and handling people movements during the Eid homecoming and Christmas and New Year's Day in 2022 will be essential to bring about improvements in the organizing process this year.

"With empirical experience in the previous year, we have identified some crucial points that could cause issues if proper handling is not conducted," he noted.

The ministry, along with the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry and the Indonesian Police, conducted road checks on Java's southern coast and northern coast routes -- major roads connecting provinces in Java Island.

The joint inspection led to the identification of the Trans-Java toll road as a crucial point in the homecoming movement, he said.

"We are the one that regulates, but the one that implements the traffic arrangement or monitors it is the Police's Traffic Corps, who will set up the road contraflow, one-way road, or other arrangements," Sumadi stated.

He pressed for increasing the number of rest areas in the eastward-bound section of the Trans-Java toll road.

Meanwhile, the ministry has prepared additional crossing ports to alleviate pressure at Merak Port in Banten and Bakauheni Port in Lampung -- the two main crossing points between Java and Sumatra.

"We have the Ciwandan Port in Merak and Panjang Port in Sumatra. We hope (the additional ports) will help reduce congestion in Merak and Bakauheni," the minister remarked.

Moreover, the ministry projected a surge in the number of airline passengers in Bali, Makassar, Surabaya, and Medan during the Eid al-Fitr homecoming period and coordinated with relevant parties to help alleviate potential congestion.

"We have coordinated with airlines (and told them) to use wide-bodied jets that can serve 400 passengers at once and increase the aircraft operational hours, from 12 to 18 hours to optimize the aircraft rotation process. We have also coordinated with airport operators to open the airport for longer," Sumadi explained.

The minister said other aspects that have been planned to ensure a smooth 2023 Eid homecoming movement are preparing public transportation armada to anticipate passenger surges and organizing free homecoming trips to help reduce the use of personal modes of transportation.

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Translator: Benardy F, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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