Saturday, May 19, 2007

Three days off causes increase in train passengers

Sunday, March 18, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jakarta train stations were packed Saturday as residents flocked to leave the city for the long weekend. March 19 is Nyepi (the Hindu Day of Silence).

The city's largest railway station, Gambir in Central Jakarta, saw a 30 percent increase in passenger numbers, with most heading to Bandung and Cirebon in West Java, Surabaya and Malang in East Java, Yogyakarta, and Purwokerto, Kutoarjo, and Surakarta in Central Java.

State railway company PT Kereta Api (PT KA) spokesman for Greater Jakarta Ahmad Sujadi said that the increase was a significant one and was seen across all classes, forcing the company to add two more passenger cars to each train.

"The Argo Lawu and Argo Bromo trains, which usually carry six cars now have eight, implying an increase of about 100 passengers at every departure," Ahmad told Antara.

He said many travelers had bought round-trip tickets in the weeks leading up to the holiday and the number of departing passengers had been rising since Friday night, with many people also returning to their villages after the work week.

Despite the large number of people leaving the city, traffic remained a problem in much of Jakarta on Saturday, particularly around shopping malls.

A family from Tanjung Barat, South Jakarta, said it had taken them one-and-a-half hours to get to Senayan in Central Jakarta, a trip that normally takes less than an hour.

Budiswan and his wife were taking their family to an event at the sports stadium, where one of their children was taking part in a marching-band competition.

"There was bad traffic at Semanggi (interchange) on Jl. Gatot Subroto. The turnpike is also jammed. Maybe, people are leaving town in their private cars and that is why the traffic is unusually congested," said the father of three. (02)

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