The government is prepared to provide services for some 24 million people seeking to return to their home towns (mudik) to celebrate Lebaran, or the Islamic post-fasting holidays, at the end of this month.
Further, the Ministry of Transportation will provide at least 1,200 ships and increase the frequencies of trains, along with offering additional flights, to serve the post-fasting Idul Fitri holiday revelers.
"In general, all transport operators are ready to provide services to people keen on returning to their native villages for Lebaran, this year," Director General of Land Transportation at the Ministry of Transportation, Suroyo Alimoeso, said.
It is predicted that during this years Idul Fitri holidays, the number of home-bound travelers, excluding those traveling in their own vehicles, will increase by about 3.83 percent to 19.30 million from 2013, which saw 18.59 million travelers.
The 19.30 million travelers excluded those using their own private vehicles, predicted to reach 4.16 million.
According to the director general, 5.59 million passengers were expected to use land transportation services, including 4.49 million who will use trains, 4.10 million will use airplanes, 3.54 million will opt for inland waterway transportation (ASDP) services, and 1.57 million will travel by ships.
Private car travelers are forecast to reach 1.79 million this year, up 5.61 percent from 1.69 million last year, while the number of people riding on motorcycles is expected to reach 2.37 million, up 4.3 percent from 2.27 million last year.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transportation Evert Erenst Mangindaan predicted traffic for travelers during the annual Idul Fitri exodus will peak during the three days before D-Day and a day after, while the return traffic will be at its highest on the fourth and fifth day after the Idul Fitri holidays.
The current fasting month is expected to end on July 27 and the Lebaran or Idul Fitri holidays will fall on July 28 and 29, 2014.
Director General Suroyo Alimoeso said that the peak of homebound land and sea passengers is expected on D-Day minus 3, and returning passengers on D-Day plus 5. The peak of homebound train and aircraft passengers, meanwhile, is expected on D-Day minus 2 to D-Day minus 1 and returning passengers at D-Day plus 4 to D-Day plus 5.
Suroyo added that the peak flow of Lebaran passengers will be seen in 12 provinces and 43 land transportation terminals.
ASDP services will be found along eight main routes, which will be served by 52 seaports, 32 airports, and railway service in nine operational areas in Java and three regional divisions in Sumatra.
Transportation Deputy Minister Bambang Susantono said on Thursday last week that the government will deploy at least 1,200 ships to cater to mudik travelers, who will arrive home by sea.
He pointed out that the capacity of the ships was already adequate, but on certain days during the peak season that capacity could become inadequate. "We have also checked the preparedness of seaports, which will be used by the mudik travelers," he said.
Bambang added that all seaports that will be used by travelers had begun preparations.
Also, the government has assured the public that fares will not be increased, but will be the same as last year. This will be valid across the country.
In the meantime, state-owned national shipping lines PT Pelni has expressed its readiness to serve mudik makers this year. In providing service, PT Pelin will coordinate with a variety of parties.
"We are preparing 25 passenger ships, with a total seat capacity of 45,077 passengers," said PT Pelni President Director Sulistyo Wimbo Hardjito on Wednesday (July 2, 2014).
He noted that all ship fleets would be put on a stand-by position during the July 13 - August 13, 2014 period. He predicted that 729,520 passengers will use PT Pelni services.
The ministry of transportation has also offered a free mudik ride for motorcyclists who want to return home by sea. Passenger registration for the free ride program was open from July 1 to July 16, 2014.
"Registration commences on July 1 up until 16, 2014 and would-be passengers are expected to register with complete required documents," Head of the Ministry of Transportations Public Communication Center, JA Barata, said.
He added that the ships will have a capacity of transporting some 12,000 motorcycles for departure and returning travelers. Each family using a motorcycle that travels by sea using the free ride program will receive three round trip tickets for the husband, wife and a child under 12 years old, or for two adults and one child passengers.
PT Pelni has coordinated with state-owned port operator PT Pelindo so that services at passenger terminals would be increased.
Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono even predicted that this years Idul Fitri revelers could reach 30 million. Besides ships and ferries prepared for travelers by sea or inland waterways, the government is also preparing trains.
At least 32 additional trains will be made ready to assist the regular trains during the Idul Fitri exodus.
"We have to mobilize all modes of transportation to serve some 30 million travelers. For this purposes, at least 32 additional trains with adequate coaches will be prepared," Bambang said.
According to Transportation Minister Mangindaan, train passengers are predicted to rise 3.1 percent to 4.49 million, while the number of air travelers is expected to rise 11.48 percent to 4.1 million passengers.
With regard to those traveling by air, the Transportation Ministrys Air Transportation Director Djoko Murdjatmodjo earlier stated that five airlines had proposed additional flights to anticipate the increase in passenger traffic during the 2014 Idul Fitri exodus.
Those airlines include Sriwijaya Air, Nam Air, Lion Air, Indonesia Air Asia, and Garuda Indonesia.
Sixteen additional flights will be made available for 16 days, or seven days before and after the D-Day.
"A total of 903 flights will be made available during the 16 days," Djoko added.
Returning home for reunions with family members, relatives, or old friends in native villages on the occasion of the post-fasting holiday of Lebaran has been a tradition followed by a majority of the Indonesian people.(Antara)