Jakarta. Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the country is bracing for heavy traffic this holiday season, which is expected to peak between Dec. 29 and Jan. 1.
"Our prediction is that the peak [traffic] will occur on the 29th, 30th and 31st of December and the first of January. During these days [the Ministry of Transportation] will make intensive coordination ... I expect the arterial roads to be utilized well" to help reduce congestion, the minister said in a statement on Sunday (24/12).
He added that the Transportation Ministry is discussing with business associations about a possibility to extend a ban on heavy vehicles and trucks from roads to four days instead of just two.
"Initially, the ban was to last two days, on Dec. 29 and 30, but we are considering to extend it to Dec. 31 and Jan. 1," the minister said in the statement, adding that the ministry is currently discussing the ban with the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) and the Indonesian Truck Owners' Association (Aptrindo).
Acccording to Dwimawan Heru, assistant to the vice president of corporate communications at state-owned toll road operator Jasa Marga, about 234,000 private vehicles have traveled out of Jakarta so far.
"This number was recorded from the Cikarang Utama toll gate," he said, referring to a toll gate on the Jakarta-Cikampek Toll Road, which is the busiest toll road in the country and connects the capital with cities in West Java.
He said the volume of traffic of vehicles heading to Cikampek, a city in West Java, is predicted to increase.
Jasa Marga urged all drivers to ensure that their vehicles are in good condition and to make sure they have adequate funds on their payment cards for toll fees, since the government abolished cash payments at toll booths.
On Sunday, Jasa Marga implemented a contraflow system, which repurposes traffic lanes in opposite directions to give way to those heading to Cikampek. This system has been implemented annually to help ease traffic.
Jasa Marga said in a statement that the contraflow was implemented between the 35th and 41st kilometer on the road from 11.55 a.m. on Sunday and ceased at 02.00 p.m. after traffic improved. The toll road operator said it is possible to implement the system again if traffic worsens.