Millions of Indonesians this week began arduous journeys to return to their home towns to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr.
Nearly 30 million revellers are expected to travel by car, bus, ferry, motorcycle and plane in the annual home-bound exodus, which has become a logistical nightmare for the government.
Eid al-Fitr, which falls on Sunday in Indonesia, marks the end of the Ramadan fasting month and is the biggest holiday in the world’s most populous Muslim country.
At least 504 people died and more than 3,000 were injured in road accidents during the holiday period last year.
Twelve died from exhaustion during days of massive gridlock leading to a toll road exit in Brebes district in Central Java.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya said the government was taking measures to prevent similar chaos this year.
“We will manage the traffic flow on toll roads to make sure there are no long queues,” he said.
Revellers can now use new toll roads being built linking Brebes and Semarang, taking some pressure off the usual routes and reducing bottlenecks, he said.
The government of President Joko Widodo has made revamping the country’s dilapidated infrastructure a priority.