In 2012, the number of Idul Fitri travelers stood at 15,012,954. Data showed that 908 people were killed in traffic accidents, an increase of 17 percent from figures in 2011.
During this year`s exodus, police recorded a total of 719 fatalities resulting from traffic accidents, a drop from 908 deaths in the previous year.
"During `Operation Ketupat` 2013, which lasted for seven days, ending on the Thursday after the Idul Fitri holiday, police recorded 3,279 traffic accidents, leading to 719 deaths," spokesman of police headquarters Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto said in Jakarta recently.
He noted that 1,184 victims had sustained serious injuries, while 4,326 had suffered minor injuries. Of the 6,991 vehicles involved in accidents, 4,159 were motorbikes.
Every year, the government has to improve preparations in anticipation of traffic-related problems to better serve the millions of home-bound and in-bound travelers.
For this purpose, prior to this year`s exodus, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had instructed the government to ensure better traffic management and to provide safe and comfortable transportation by land, sea, and air.
The head of state noted that the central and regional governments` task was to make a serious effort and to work hard to overcome challenges that frequently arise during the annual exodus.
"Good services for the holiday travelers will also include fuel availability, medical attention in the event of an accident, reparations to damaged roads, and a smooth flow of traffic," the president had said.
The number of home-bound and in-bound Idul Fitri travelers this year increased by some 2.21 percent compared with the same period last year, according to data collected by the national command post in Jakarta on August 20, 2013.
The number of people using public transport such as buses, trains, ferries, and air planes has increased by 1.26 percent this year as compared with 2012, rising from 16,436,107 to 16,643,083 people.
This year, however, the number of people traveling in private cars and on motorcycles has dropped because of the availability of free public transport provided by the government and private companies.
The number of people traveling in private cars decreased by 16.47 percent this year, dropping from 5,488,140 in 2012 to 4,584,085 in 2013.
The number of home-bound travelers on motorcycles during the Idul Fitri 2013 exodus dropped by 33.9 percent as compared with 2012, according to Transportation Minister Evert Erenst Mangindaan.
"The number of people traveling on motorcycles decreased by 33.97 percent this year, compared with 2012, going from 3,795,368 to 2,506,030," stated EE Mangindaan in Jakarta on August 20, 2013.
The minister noted that the implementation of transport services during the Idul Fitri exodus had gone smoothly as a result of strong cooperation between stakeholders related to these services during the holiday season.
"The implementation of transport services was better this year (than last year)," he confirmed.
The synchronization programme in place during the Idul Fitri exodus covered the management of public facilities and the country`s infrastructure and the management of holiday schedules and road traffic.
A similar view was shared by Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto who had previously mentioned that the implementation of transport services for the Idul Fitri holiday season were better in 2013 than in 2012.
"Based on our observations, the Idul Fitri exodus this year went smoothly," he said.
The increased capacity of the roads was one of the reasons for the success in managing the transport services, he added.
Kirmanto thanked the police and the public for their cooperation and thanked private and state-owned companies as well as political parties for providing free transport services to home-bound travellers during Idul Fitri.
In Various Regions
To assist with managing traffic during the exodus of more than 16 million people, Indonesian Police launched Operation Ketupat on August 2, seven days ahead of Idul Fitri (D-7), and ran it until August 16, 2013, seven days after Idul Fitri (D+7).
As part of Operation Ketupat, the central government had deployed a joint task force of 88 thousand police officers, who were supported by military personnel. Each provincial police station had provided two-thirds of its personnel to support the initiative.
Police also recorded a decline in traffic accidents in various regions across Indonesia during this year`s Idul Fitri festivities.
In Jakarta, for instance, 22 traffic fatalities were recorded from August 2 to 16, 2013, a decrease of 27 percent or six deaths from last year.
"The number of fatalities during this year`s Idul Fitri holidays in Jakarta is lower than that in the previous year, which stood at 28 people," Adj. Sr Comr. Hindarsono, the head of the legal development and enforcement division of the Jakarta Police, remarked recently.
According to police records from 2013, some 166 traffic accidents were recorded, involving 270 victims. Of these, 22 had died, 67 were seriously injured, and 181 had suffered minor injuries. Material losses from these accidents were estimated at Rp821.45 million.
In West Java, the number of traffic accidents and fatalities recorded during this year`s Idul Fitri exodus fell by almost 50 percent compared with last year`s figures, according to West Java police chief Inspector General Suhardi Alius.
"The good news is that the number of traffic accidents and fatalities have decreased significantly this year, almost 50 percent. Thank God, and thank you, everyone," Alius stated in Bandung, West Java Province, recently.
Since the launch of Operation Ketupat 2013 on Aug. 2, 2013, some 113 traffic accidents have been recorded, a sharp drop from the 213 accidents reported during last year`s Idul Fitri exodus, Alius noted.
"It`s a decrease of 45 to 50 percent. The number of fatalities has also dropped from around 50 last year to 29 this year. We should maintain this situation," Alius explained.
The West Java police also prevented the build-up of severe traffic jams during the exodus. "Last year, it took 24 hours to get from Cikopo to Losasi."
In Central Java, police recorded 80 fatalities resulting from traffic accidents in the province.
"This year, there is a decrease in the number of fatalities; last year, 126 deaths were reported during the same period," announced Senior Commissioner Djihartono, spokesperson for the Central Java Police Office, in Semarang recently.
Since the launch of Operation Ketupat, 628 traffic accidents have been recorded, marking a sharp drop from 935 accidents in the same period last year, Djihartono said.
A major road crash had occurred in Banyumas, Central Java Province, on August 10, when a Karya Sari bus collided with several motor vehicles, claiming 15 lives. The local police arrested the bus driver for his involvement in the fatal accident.
In Lampung, southern Sumatra Island, the number of traffic accidents during the Idul Fitri exodus dropped by 10 percent from that in the previous year, according to Chief of the Lampung Police Brigadier General Heru Winarko.
"The number of traffic accidents this year has dropped compared with last year," Winarko stated here on Friday.
During Operation Ketupat 2013, only 35 road accidents were recorded in Lampung. The traffic accidents resulted in 19 fatalities, while 32 were seriously injured and 38 were lightly wounded.
In West Kalimantan, 15 fatalities caused by traffic accidents were recorded during the exodus.
"In general, the number of traffic accidents and fatalities during this year`s Idul Fitri exodus is lower than it was in the same period in 2012," claimed Senior Adjunct Commissioner Mukson Munandar, a spokesman of the West Kalimantan Police.
During Operation Ketupat 2013, some 34 traffic accidents were recorded, indicating a decrease of 48 percent from the 34 accidents that occurred during Operation Ketupat 2012, he remarked.
Further, the number of fatalities recorded during the Idul Fitri festivities in West Kalimantan in 2012 was 27, and this year, it has dropped to 15 people.
In Riau, Sumatra Island, the number of traffic accidents in the province this year decreased by approximately five cases from that in the same period during last year`s Idul Fitri festivities.
Of the 37 traffic accidents in Riau Province, there were 8 fatalities.
These traffic accidents had seriously injured 36 people and lightly wounded 39 others, Senior Adjunct Commissioner Hermansyah, a spokesman of the Riau provincial police, had said in Pekanbaru, recently.
In contrast, during the 10 days of Operation Ketupat last year, there had been 42 traffic accidents, killing 17 people, seriously injuring 36, and slightly wounding 30, he pointed out.
The government has pledged to improve traffic management next year as well to ensure that Idul Fitri travelers can enjoy better transport services and can travel safely.