In order to avoid traffic jams during the backflow, which is feared to occur on Sunday (08/05) night, the government has asked residents to postpone their return to Jakarta.
For this reason, the government has stated that it has allowed state civil servants (ASN) to work from home. Private employees are also encouraged to do the same.
However, a transport observer said the call was “sudden” so “it won’t have much impact on the ground”.
The Ministry of Transportation on Sunday (08/05) afternoon predicts that there are still 46-47% of residents who have not returned to Jakarta after the Lebaran homecoming. Thus, the government implements one way or one way to Jakarta.
The peak of the backflow is estimated to have passed, namely Friday (06/05) and Saturday (07/05) night, but the Ministry of Transportation said it was still anticipating the possibility of “increasing backflow” on Sunday (08/05) night.
However, transportation observers assess the flow of going back and forth this year running quite smoothly, but still needs some improvements.
‘There are still 46-47% who have not returned to Jakarta’
In a press conference at the Cikopo KM 72 Toll Road on Sunday (08/05) afternoon, Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said that his party together with the police and toll road managers had coordinated to anticipate an increase in backflow.
“From two days ago it was still 63%, it fell again to 55%, and now there are still 46-47% who have not returned.
“Imagine if it takes place tonight. On the one hand, we coordinate to prepare facilities and infrastructure, but we never stop urging the public to postpone it, so that they return tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” said Budi Karya.
A transportation observer, Djoko Setijowarno, assessed that the permission to work from home for ASN was “sudden impressed” because several relevant ministries or agencies had not issued an official letter regarding the policy.
He considered the policy better announced early on. “When I want to go home, it is announced, not when I go back,” said Djoko.
From information compiled by BBC News Indonesia, as of Sunday (08/05) afternoon, several ASN said that they had not yet received a circular to work at home for the next week, although some had just received the circular.
“There is no circular letter from the civil service bureau yet. So the assumption is that it still has to come in tomorrow,” said one ASN at the Ministry of Trade, who did not want to be named.
Meanwhile, there are also ministries that are still implementing work from home policies, such as the Ministry of Finance.
The peak of the backflow is estimated to have passed
On Saturday (07/05), Jasa Marga recorded the highest backflow in the history of toll roads in Indonesia.
In its official statement, Jasa Marga explained that the volume of traffic returning to Jabotabek from the east (Surabaya, Solo, Semarang, Cirebon and Bandung) reached 170,078 vehicles. Compared to last 2021, the number increased by 159%.
This figure is also said to beat the highest record before the pandemic, which was during Lebaran 2019, which was 166,444 vehicles, with the majority of drivers coming from the direction of the Trans Java Toll Road.
Transportation observer Darmaningtyas said the peak of the backflow had actually occurred two days ago because “the movement was quite high”.
“If this comes back, there are also many people who are a bit relaxed, waiting for the road to be loose and so on, so it is likely that there will not be an explosion of backflow as we imagined,” said Darmaningtyas.
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A resident from Jakarta, Muhammad Jauhari, is one of the travelers who Darmaningtyas calls “a bit relaxed”.
Contacted on Sunday afternoon, Jauhari decided to return to the capital on Sunday afternoon because he did not want to be stuck in traffic on Saturday (07/05) night.
“Last night because it was still jammed, I finally stopped by Semarang, I didn’t want to” banter on the road. After that, we will continue to Jakarta, at the latest in the afternoon,” said Jauhari, who traveled from Yogyakarta.
He said he would take advantage of a one-way implementation or one way on the toll road so that the journey can be smoother.
In fact, Jauhari was able to extend his vacation period because his son had not yet started school.
However, since he had to start work, he decided to return home.
Application of ‘one way’ on toll roads
The Ministry of Transportation together with the police and toll road managers will still enforce one way or one way on the toll road, starting from Km 428 Semarang ABC Toll Road to Km 66 Jakarta Cikampek Toll Road since Sunday at 09.00 am.
Furthermore, from Km 66 to Km 47 applies contraflow two lanes and from Km 74 to Km 28 apply contraflow one way.
Schema implementation one way and contraflow will be applied according to the capacity of vehicles passing on the toll road.
“At some point, where load than vehicles above 5,000 then we think to do one waylater when it’s relaxed, then we come back contraflowsaid Minister Budi.
Based on calculations made by the police, Jasa Marga, and the Toll Road Management Agency (BPJT), when the number of vehicles reaches 5,000, there will be congestion.
“We don’t want traffic jams, therefore we ask for tolerance for arterial roads that have to be jammed because we prioritize our relatives who are going home, because some of them are from East Java, imagine, he might have been here for more than 12 hours,” said Budi.
Therefore, he asked residents to reduce activity on arterial roads so that there is no accumulation of vehicles when one way enforced on toll roads.
One way on toll roads makes other road users ‘neglectedn’
Darmaningtyas, who is also the Chair of the Institute for Transportation Studies (INSTRAN), said the implementation of the scheme one way it is effective to serve travelers, “but if it is effective to serve the movement, of course it must be considered.”
In fact, the one-way scheme on the Cikampek Toll Road on Saturday (07/05) made the Kalimalang arterial route to Bekasi also experience vehicle queues of up to 4 kilometers, according to the Antara News Agency.
Even before, the scheme one way which was applied to the homecoming flow, had caused congestion for up to 5 kilometers on the Cipularang Toll Road leading to the Cikampek Toll Road last Friday (29/4), as reported by Kompas.com.
Feeling annoyed, road users finally blocked the road from Jakarta to Bandung.
“The most important thing is that the way out is given, don’t let there be a reaction like yesterday, toll users from Bandung who want to enter Jakarta because they don’t know where to go, suddenly the toll road is closed. That can’t happen again,” said Darmaningtyas.
‘Lack of information‘ on arterial road
According to Darmaningtyas, in this homecoming season, information is only focused on toll roads, so information on arterial route conditions is minimal. Though arterial roads can be an alternative route for travelers.
“What was raised was only about the toll road. In fact, how many years is the new toll road, complete and new 2018. Previously, it was via the Pantura route, via the South route. Why was that not informed?” he said.
Djoko also acknowledged the lack of information on arterial or non-toll roads. Even though the information in 2019, he scored more and better.
He said that during this year’s homecoming season, the Pantura route was relatively smooth. Moreover, the markets that usually create congestion at several points have been cleared.
“In fact, if you use the arterial route, there are more culinary options, more choices, and actually cheaper.
“Rather than on the toll road, they end up stuck. It’s difficult to enter the rest area, only on the shoulder of the road. It’s also tired. If you are on the arterial route, there are many lodgings along the Pantura,” said Djoko.
Meanwhile on the South Line, Djoko assesses that the route is already good, but the connecting road from South to North is not yet good.
“Would you like to go through Jagorawi-Bogor, then Ciawi-Sukabumi, the toll road has not yet been completed. If you want to go through Garut, Tasik, conditions are usually jammed, especially with the addition of Eid.
“We are still waiting for the Cileunyi-Garut-Tasik toll road to reach Cilacap. If it is connected, it can split up again to the south,” Djoko added.
Alternative solutions in the future
Djoko said that in overcoming the density of homecoming and return flows, so far the government and related parties have always used priority management, namely by applying one way, contraflow, or odd-even on roads with higher vehicle volumes.
According to him, in the future, other solutions can be applied, one of which is time management, along with many companies and government agencies that are familiar with the system of working from home.
“This policy was sudden because I was worried about the flow of going home, but this can be done again starting next year.
“So it’s not just the return, starting the homecoming can also be arranged in such a way,” said the Head of the Advocacy and Community Division of the Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI).
From Djoko’s observation, several private companies have laid off their employees since April 22.
Most of these companies are familiar with the concept of working from home. According to him, government agencies can also do it.
“I think civil servants can also, ministries or state-owned enterprises that have nothing to do with homecoming activities can still be regulated.
“Including school and college children as well, two weeks before Eid, the lectures are online, face-to-face online,” said Djoko.
“Except for those in factories, that can’t be done.”
This could be a consideration because according to Djoko the number of private vehicles traveling home will continue to grow in the future. Considering that the capacity and length of roads are already limited, in terms of land and money to build them.
Djoko assesses that it is time for the government to fix public transportation at the homecoming destination to reduce the use of private vehicles which add to congestion.
So far, he said, one of the driving factors for many travelers choosing to use private vehicles is the lack of adequate public transportation in their hometowns.
“The central government should have a special allocation fund (DAK) to fix public transportation in the regions,” said Djoko.
Currently, MTI notes that only a few cities in Java have relatively adequate transportation to assist the distribution of homecomers to their respective villages.
For example, in Java there are Trans Semarang Buses in Semarang, Solo Trans Batik Buses (Solo Raya), Trans Banyumas Buses (Banyumas District), Semanggi Surabaya Buses in Surabaya, Trans Pakuan in Bogor, Trans Yogya in Yogyakarta, Trans Metro Pasundan (Bandung). Raya), Trans Jateng Bus or Solo-Yogyakarta KRL.
While outside Java, Trans Metro Deli (Medan), Trans Musi Jaya (Palembang), Trans Banjarbakula (Banjarmasin), Trans Metro Dewat (Denpasar) and Trans Maminatasa (Makassar) are already operating.
Meanwhile, there are many other areas that do not yet have these facilities.
“The trend is that homecomers choose to return home by toll road. Or if they go to Sumatra, they use motorbikes.
“Rural transportation has died, it must also be revived, so that those in the village can go to the city for Eid and vice versa,” said Djoko.