Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – The government is advising travelers during the Ramadan exodus against using motorbikes when they head back to their hometowns as these two-wheelers are highly prone to accidents.
The Transportation Ministry predicts that 123.8 million Indonesians are traveling to their hometowns this Ramadan. Indonesia will see 25.23 million motorbikes on its roads before and after Eid, the biggest holiday for Indonesian Muslims that comes at the end of Ramadan.
According to Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, travelers should go on the free homecoming trips provided by the government instead of taking the risk of using motorcycles.
"Traveling on motorbikes for your Eid trips is dangerous. Motorbikes are the vehicle type that gets involved in traffic accidents the most, just behind tourist buses," Budi said on BTV's night talk show Obrolan Malam on Tuesday.
"Imagine if you are on the road for 6-8 hours. It must be really tiring. Not to mention that you are bringing your family members," Budi said.
Indonesians also have many free travel options to pick from. Government bodies – starting from the Transportation Ministry and state-owned enterprises to the police force – have their own free homecoming trip programs.
"There are ferries provided by the Transportation Ministry and the Navy that depart from Jakarta to Semarang and vice versa. And of course, the vehicles on these free trips are all comfortable. We even have air-conditioned buses with dinners included. The ferries even play music," Budi said.
As a plan B, the government has prepared rest areas for people who insist on traveling by motorbike. Motorcyclists can make multiple stops at these rest areas during their homebound journeys. Budi also advised the holidaymakers to stop by the tourist destinations along the way.
"But please, do not use motorcycles for your homecoming trips," Budi said.
Government data shows that Central Java becomes the most popular destination this upcoming Eid with 32.75 million people expected to head back to the highly populated province, followed by East Java (24.6 million people). The Eid travelers mostly come from East Java (21.2 million people) and Central Java (18.7 million people).
The Eid homecoming traffic congestion is forecast to peak on April 20-21. People can save both money and time by going on their homebound journeys a week earlier, according to Budi.
"We are encouraging people to travel on April 13-17. Buses, airlines, and trains are offering tons of discounts [for those dates]. We expect this can help prevent the massive traffic congestion on April 20-21," Budi said.