Nearly 30 million Indonesians on Wednesday began arduous journeys to return to their home towns to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr.
They 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.
No fewer than 504 people died and more than 3,000 were injured in road accidents during the holiday period in 2016.
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.
The completion of new toll roads linking the capital Jakarta and Central Java means there will be fewer bottlenecks, he said.
The government of President Joko Widodo has made revamping the country’s dilapidated infrastructure a priority.