Tri Indah Oktavianti, Jakarta – Commuter line operator PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) reported an increasing number of passengers on Monday, with commuters seen crowding train stations across Jakarta as the capital continues its transition period from large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to the "new normal".
"Up until 10 a.m. on Monday, we recorded 166,044 passengers," KCI spokesperson Anne Purba said in a written statement on Monday. The figure was up 7 percent from the same period last week, she added.
Anticipating a surge in passengers on Monday, KCI operated 10 additional trips for trains from Tangerang, Banten, bringing the total to 98 trips per day from Tangerang Station to Duri Station and vice versa within its daily operational hours of 4.30 a.m. to 9.10 p.m.
"The additional [trips] are in accordance with the surge of passengers. We recorded 4,798 commuters using the service from Tangerang Station on Monday morning, a 53 percent increase from last Monday [June 29]," Anne said.
She added that 947 commuter trips across Greater Jakarta operated daily to handle the increase in passengers.
After the city administration started to ease PSBB measures, commuters from Greater Jakarta and its surrounding areas have been using the commuter line to go back to work.
The Jakarta administration deployed in June 50 free buses for commuters living in the satellite cities of Bogor, Depok and Bekasi in West Java and Tangerang to reduce crowding on trains and stations.
However, the KCI reported on Monday that the free buses, which start operating at 5 a.m., were also packed.
"During this transitional period [to the new normal], the KCI will support the public as they get back to their daily activities," she said. "However, we also need support from businesses regarding the shift arrangements [of their workers]."
According to Circular Letter No. 8/2020 issued by the COVID-19 task force on June 14, employers are required to arrange work shifts for their employees in accordance with physical distancing rules and health protocols.
The KCI underlined that alternating in-office work shifts could help reduce the influx of passengers, which consistently sees a 9 to 10 percent increase every week since the implementation of the transitional period.
At the beginning of the transitional phase toward the new normal last month, the operator recorded approximately 150,000 passengers using its service on the morning of June 8, a significant increase from 80,000 passengers recorded per day on average during the PSBB.