Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government has prepared strategic steps to face the 2023 Eid al-Fitr homecoming period that may start one week before the Islamic festivities on April 21 and cease the week after.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi stated on Sunday that community movement during the period is forecast to reach 123.8 million people, a 44.8 percent increase from 85.5 million people projected in 2022.

This figure is based on the results of a survey conducted by the Ministry of Transportation through the Transportation Policy Agency (BKT).

Based on results of the survey, Java Island is forecast to dominate in terms of people's movements, constituting 62.5 percent, or 77.3 million people.

The revocation of Community Activity Restriction (PPKM) and the controlled number of COVID-19 cases in the country are included in the factors causing the high potential of community movement.

To this end, the government has prepared steps to anticipate overflow and traffic jams, such as by preparing transportation facilities and infrastructure, safety aspects, and traffic engineering management.

Several steps to handle this year’s Eid homecoming include preparing a survey of the potential movement of people's mobility during the 2023 Eid homecoming and conducting safety inspections in the form of ramp checks on land, sea, air, and rail transportation facilities.

Land Transportation

The Directorate General of Land Transportation of the Transportation Ministry along with the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) and the National Police Traffic Corps had conducted inspections regarding the condition of the Java south coast (Pansela) and north coast (Pantura) routes.

From a review of the Pansela route, the Directorate General of Land Transportation drew attention to several factors behind the route not being attractive to travelers, such as the lack of street lighting, the dearth of signs that could endanger motorists, and the lack of rest areas and gas stations.

The related authorities will accelerate the construction of road safety facilities for road lighting and signs on the Pansela route.

The Cipali toll road in West Java was identified as a crucial point for Eid homecoming since it connects the Jakarta toll road to enter the Central Java area.

To this end, intensive coordination was conducted with the National Police Corps Traffic Corps, starting with the implementation of traffic engineering as well as monitoring and enforcement in the form of contraflow, one-way, and other forms of engineering.

State-owned toll road operator PT Jasa Marga predicts traffic volume during the homecoming Eid through the four main toll gates at 2.21 million vehicles, a 2.8 percent increase from 2.15 million during Eid 2022.

As for the return flow, 2.32 million vehicles are predicted to pass through the four main toll gates, up 1.4 percent from 2.29 million during Eid 2022.

To support the 2023 Eid homecoming, Jasa Marga and the Toll Road Management Agency (BPJT) will operate 58 rest areas on both toll road sections as places of rest and provide service for homecomers.

The Transportation Ministry will also prepare additional ferry ports to divert traffic at Merak Port in Banten and Bakauheni Port in South Lampung. Ciwandan Port in Banten and Panjang Port in Bandar Lampung have been prepared to anticipate congestion at the two ports.

Air Transportation

Regarding air connectivity, traffic density is forecast at several airports, namely in Bali, Makassar, Surabaya, and Medan.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation will also monitor 51 airports to support the 2023 Eid homecoming. The monitoring will cover the aspects of aviation safety, increased number of passengers, aircraft movements, technical problems, and other factors.

For flight route services, 270 domestic routes have been provided to connect 122 cities for domestic flights and 112 international routes connecting 48 cities overseas from 22 countries.

In terms of fleet readiness, currently, 394 aircraft have been prepared for regular flights. The number will increase for the 2023 Eid homecoming.

Several anticipatory strategies have also been prepared by the Directorate General of Air Transportation, such as maintaining and increasing compliance with the aspects of aviation safety and security while still paying attention to health protocols, increasing air transport capacity in terms of the supply side, and maintaining demand growth.

To handle the increase in the number of passengers, additional seating capacity will be provided through extra flights or replacing aircraft with larger sizes.

Sea Transportation

The Directorate General of Sea Transportation has also commenced preparations ahead of the 2023 Eid homecoming by conducting seaworthiness tests for passenger ships at several ports.

The seaworthiness test for passenger ships started from February 8 to March 20, 2023.

The ships' seaworthiness test aims to increase supervision by inspecting the ships' condition and giving certification to those having cleared the test.

This step also aims to address the results of evaluation of reports from the Office of the Technical Implementation Unit (UPT) of the Directorate General of Sea Transportation.

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Translator: Benardy Ferdiansyah, Resinta S
Editor: Anton Santoso
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