Wed, 05 Jan 2000

Sutiyoso predicts smaller number of Idul Fitri travelers

JAKARTA (JP): The number of Idul Fitri travelers leaving the city this year is estimated to be much lower than earlier predicted, Governor Sutiyoso said on Tuesday.

The governor came to the conclusion after his entourage visited Kampung Rambutan inter-city bus terminal in East Jakarta, Pasar Senen Railway Station and Tanjung Priok Seaport.

During the visit to Senen in Central Jakarta, the governor was told by the head of inter-city trains for the state railway company PT KAI, Whosep Muktamar, that traveler numbers were still low.

"We have not even utilized our more than 100 reserve trains as all passengers were able to be accommodated on the regular trains," he said.

On Monday, five days before the post-fasting month holiday, the busy station registered 12,519 passengers departing for various destinations in Java. The figure is slightly lower than 13,435 from the same period before last year's Idul Fitri.

A total of 12,051 passengers departed on Sunday.

Whosep said trains deployed during the peak travel season were allowed to carry passenger loads 150 percent to 200 percent above standard capacity.

"This overload will not risk passenger safety," he said.

Sutiyoso was accompanied by his four deputies, City Council Speaker Edy Waluyo, heads of associated city agencies and high- ranking city military and police officers.

His visit followed President Abdurrahman Wahid's impromptu tour of same transportation facilities on Sunday.

At Tanjung Priok, West Navy Fleet Commodore Djuhana S. told The Jakarta Post that there were three landing ship tanks (LST) berthed at Tanjung Priok Naval Base which could be used as backup for regular motor vessel services during the Idul Fitri exodus.

"We have also deployed other LSTs at our major naval bases, such as Medan and Surabaya," he said.

First Air Force Operation Command (Koopsau I) chief of staff Commodore Sutrisno SP, who was also at the seaport, said his personnel were ready to provide airlifts for the travelers at any time upon the request of Indonesian Military (TNI) Headquarters.

"We have two squadrons of Hercules airplanes ready to be deployed when necessary," he told the Post, adding that a squadron consisted of from 12 to 16 airplanes.

"All the airplanes are based at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in Jakarta and at Abdulrachman Saleh Air Force Base in Malang, East Java. We can dispatch the airplanes as soon as we receive the request," Sutrisno said.

To the governor and his entourage, the head of state-owned shipping company PT Pelni, Simon Patalessy, said that most of the motor vessels carrying the Idul Fitri passengers were already fully loaded and cleared to set sail.

"The ships are allowed to carry an additional 50 percent of recommended capacity without risk to the passengers' safety."

Simon said the company had deployed 21 ships of its fleet which were bound for various destinations throughout the archipelago.

"We have 11 2,000-passengers, nine 1,000-passengers and three 500-passengers vessels," Simon said.


Later in the afternoon at Kampung Rambutan terminal, Sutiyoso was disappointed to find the dirty and poorly maintained facility.

"You must pay attention to the building and environment of the terminal, don't let it get in such a mess," he told head of City's Land Transportation Agency (DLLAJR) Buyung Atang, an active military colonel.

"You must keep this terminal tidy since it's less than 10 years old." He ordered Buyung to prepare a presentation on how to refurbish the terminal.

Buyung told the governor that predictions for passengers leaving through the terminal might not be met.

"One reason is that several companies chartered buses for their employees. Another is that students started their school vacation at the start of Ramadhan, and perhaps they already made their trips home," he said. (05/asa)