TANGERANG SELATAN, KOMPAS.com - A family of five left their home in South Tangerang near Jakarta before the dawn, hoping that they could avoid bad traffic to their hometown in Yogyakarta. But, it did not happen.
Dyah, 44, along with her husband and three children were among tens of millions of Indonesians who went on the annual exodus to spend the festive holiday Eid al-Fitr. The government has allowed people to travel back to their hometowns as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to decline.
Dyah, who hit the road on Thursday, April 28 at 2:30 am, said that the traffic flow was relatively smooth toward Cikampek, West Java. It then slowed to a crawl once leaving the Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ) elevated toll road.
Also read: Indonesia to Celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Monday
“The heavy traffic began at kilometer 41 of the Cikampek toll road. A smooth traffic flow only started after kilometer 80,” Dyah said.
“The traffic jams happened at about 3:30 am during pre-dawn meal time. It is 8:00 am now as I’m passing Cipali [Cikopo-Palimanan] toll road before Cirebon toll gate in West Java.”
She said many motorists parked their cars on the shoulder of the toll road to rest. “Many cars were parked on the left side of the road. The people wanted to rest and have their pre-dawn meals,” she added.
Her family had their pre-dawn meals in the car while stuck in the traffic. This was the first time she went back to Yogyakarta in two years as the government banned the annual homecoming due to a high number of Covid-19 cases. Before, it took her only eight to nine hours to reach her hometown by land. This total amount of time also included rest stops two to three times.
"After five hours on the road, I still in Cipali in Cirebon,” she said.
State News Antara reported that state-owned toll road operator PT Jasa Marga has predicted that the peak of the Eid Al-Fitr homecoming traffic will occur on April 29, while the peak of the return trip will happen on May 8.
Head of corporate communication and community development group of PT Jasa Marga, Dwimawan Heru, said that the number of vehicles used during the homecoming trip this year is expected to exceed 2.5 million vehicles compared to 2019.
The homecoming flow dropped by 40 percent in 2020 to around 900 thousand vehicles. Meanwhile, about 1.4 million vehicles that were used during the 2021 homecoming.
Jasa Marga has urged road users to prepare themselves by planning the route trip, ensuring vehicle readiness, and having adequate travel supplies, fuel, and e-money balance to make payments at toll gates.
“Besides, we appeal to the public to avoid having trips during the peak homecoming and returning flow,” he said.
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