Bus Drivers Tested for Drugs, Alcohol Before Idul Fitri
Dessy Sagita, Bayu Marhaenjati & ID/ Tri Listiyarini
The Health Ministry has started testing bus drivers for drug and alcohol use, and general fitness as part of a safety campaign ahead of the end-of-Ramadan holiday exodus known as mudik .
Tjandra Yoga Aditama, the ministry’s director general for disease control and environmental health, said on Sunday that inspectors would test drivers at major bus terminals through the one week leading up to Idul Fitri, which this year is expected to start on or around this Sunday.
“We’re doing checks for alcohol and amphetamine use, as well as for blood pressure and blood sugar level,” he said. “We’ll then categorize the drivers as fit to travel, fit but with concerns or unfit.”
The number of bus accidents as a result of driver fatigue, speeding or driving under the influence increases every year during mudik, when millions of travelers leave the country’s major cities to spend the Idul Fitri holiday in their hometowns.
Police expect almost 5.6 million people to travel by road this year, out of the 12.3 million expected to take part in the exodus.
Tjandra said that in addition to checking on the drivers, the ministry was also taking steps to help travelers stay healthy on the road.
This includes opening health posts at major bus terminals like the one in Kampung Rambutan in East Jakarta. There will also be sanitation checks on food outlets and toilets inside terminals.
On Sunday, the ministry carried out health checks on drivers of 163 buses that left the capital from the Jakarta Fairgrounds as part of a free mudik program.
Companies are expected to provide 1,300 buses for the free program, which this year is expected to be used by 53,000 travelers, police said.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said the buses would leave from various points across the city between Sunday and Thursday, the peak travel period before Idul Fitri.
He added that the main destinations were Sumedang and Cirebon in West Java; Tegal, Semarang, Solo, Banjarnegara and Wonogiri in Central Java; Yogyakarta; and Malang and Surabaya in East Java.
For this year’s mudik, the Transportation Ministry is introducing an integrated travel management database to keep track of all the public vehicles being deployed for the holiday exodus.
The Indonesian Transportation Facilities and Fleet Information System (Siasati) is accessible to the public on the ministry’s website, according to spokesman Bambang Ervan.
He said the database would be continually updated by operators nationwide, and include road, rail, air and sea transportation, to give users a real-time picture of the condition of the mudik transportation system for a given area.
The site, at siasati.dephub.go.id/report, also compares the mudik flow this year with previous years. The ministry said the system was part of its commitment to improving transportation coordination throughout the country.