President Jokowi calls on Idul Fitri travelers to avoid return-flow gridlocks

PT Jasa Marga expects around 1.6 million vehicles will be making their way back to Greater Jakarta in the seven days following Idul Fitri.

Fikri Harish

Fikri Harish

The Jakarta Post


Homebound travelers walk to buses parked near the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta for the first day of the city administration’s free mudik (exodus) program on April 17. The administration is providing 284 buses to serve 13,541 people traveling to 19 cities and regencies in Java and Sumatra.( Antara/Aprillio Akbar)

April 25, 2023

JAKARTA – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on Idul Ftiri holidaymakers to extend their holiday until after Wednesday to help ease traffic congestion during the peak of the return flow period, which is expected to take place on either Monday or Tuesday.

The Transportation Ministry has said the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) return traffic will likely peak on either day, with more than 200,000 cars carrying returning travelers expected to enter the capital each day starting Monday.

“The mudik flow during Idul Fitri [on Saturday] has gone back to around normal traffic levels,” Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati said in a press release on Sunday. “We expect to see an increase in return traffic starting on Monday.”

State-owned toll road operator PT Jasa Marga reported that up until Saturday traffic leaving Greater Jakarta still outnumbers traffic coming into the region. Two hundred thousand vehicles left Greater Jakarta on Saturday, around double the number of vehicles coming in at 111,558.

In a video statement published on Monday, President Jokowi urged citizens to avoid making their trip during the peak return flow period if possible. “Data from the Transportation Ministry showed that around 203,000 vehicles will be coming in daily [to Greater Jakarta] from the east along the Trans Java toll road and from the direction of Bandung.”

Officially, the Idul Fitri holiday period is set to end on Tuesday with most businesses resuming operations on Wednesday. But given the expected traffic levels, the president has asked non-essential employees, both in the public and private sectors, to extend their holiday until after Wednesday if possible.

As an incentive, PT Jasa Marga has announced a 20 percent discount on toll fees along the Jakarta-Cikampek toll road, which connects Jakarta to its neighboring regions to the east, from Thursday to Saturday.

Separately, National Police chief Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo confirmed on Sunday that a one-way traffic policy will be implemented on the Trans-Java toll road from the Kalikanjung toll gate in Semarang, Central Java, all the way to the Cikampek toll gate in West Java, a distance of around 340 kilometers.

The Trans-Java toll road is the main thoroughfare of the country’s most populous island and will be used as the main passage for people returning to Jakarta from Central and East Java.

“We’re trying to put out the information as quickly as possible, especially if there’s any additional changes to the one-way policy”, Listyo said on Sunday. For now, the one-way policy is set to begin on Monday afternoon until Wednesday morning, with a second period to follow from April 29 until May 2.

Overall, PT Jasa Marga expects around 1.6 million vehicles will be making their way back to Greater Jakarta in the seven days following Idul Fitri. The number represents a 5 percent increase over the previous year’s mudik season and a 67.5 percent increase over normal traffic levels.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Ministry recorded around 6.5 million people commencing their mudik trip using public transportation up until Saturday, a 11 percent increase over 5.8 million public transportation users in 2022’s mudik season. Flight remains the most popular option with 1.9 million recorded passengers.

April 19 saw the highest number of mudik traffic, with around 1 million public transportation users recorded on the day.

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