Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 248,852 confirmed infections, 9,677 deaths (21 September 2020)
21 September 2020 (closed)
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It is estimated that about 20 million Indonesians will travel back to their hometowns during the Idul Fitri (also known as Lebaran) celebrations that mark the end of the Ramadan (the Islamic holy fasting month) next month. This homeward bound traveling is locally known as mudik. The annual mudik tradition involves millions of Indonesians taking time off from work, leaving their urban residences and travel back to their places of birth in the rural areas for a few days. During these days cities become empty.
The Indonesian government estimates that a total of 20 million people will travel to their places of birth (mostly) in the rural areas during Idul Fitri between 17 and 21 July 2015. This would be a two percentage point growth compared to the 17.4 million travelers last year. This huge flow of people also implies a serious additional burden on Indonesia’s infrastructure. Indonesia is already plagued by weak infrastructure development and therefore traffic jams tend to increase drastically in certain parts of the country (particularly in Jakarta and the surrounding areas).
As such, the Indonesian government provides additional transportation services (such as buses and ferries) and puts in place special regulation. For instance, large and heavy vehicles are banned from operating on the main roads in Lampung (South Sumatra), Java and Bali between 12 and 21 July 2015. The ban starts a few days before the start of Idul Fitri as the number of travelers usually peaks in the days before the start of Idul Fitri on 17 July 2015. Apart from this peak, there is higher-than-usual traffic expected by Indonesian authorities in the period between 2 and 27 July 2015.
With annual domestic car and motorcycle sales at roughly 1 million and 8 million, respectively, there should be considerable additional pressure on the country’s infrastructure. However, the recently opened 116 kilometers-long Cikampek-Palimanan toll road (part of the Trans-Java toll road) in West Java (connecting Jakarta with the northern coast area of Java) may be able to reduce traffic congestion by 40 percent according to Djoko Sasono, Director General for Land Transportation at the Indonesian Transportation Ministry, as more people will prefer using private transportation (using the new toll road) over public transportation.
According to the Transportation Ministry, the number of train passengers will climb 8.5 percent from 3.7 million people last year as state-owned train operator Kereta Api Indonesia will offer more train carriages during the aforementioned period. Air passengers are expected to grow 8.5 percent from 3.9 million in 2014, while sea passengers are estimated to increase 9.5 percent from 882,000 people last year. State-controlled airline Garuda Indonesia expects to see a 15 percent passenger growth in mid-July, particularly on the routes to and from Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Semarang, Solo, Surabaya and Denpasar.