Provision limiting number of passengers on public transportation scrapped

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi (left) and Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama (second left) talk to the press in Jakarta on Feb. 7, 2020. (JP/Riza Roidila Mufti)( - The Transportation Ministry has revoked a rule that requires the passenger load factor of public transportation and private vehicles to not exceed 50 percent to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the country enters a transition period of relaxed restrictions called the "new normal".

Though the provision in Transportation Ministerial Regulation No. 41/2020 stipulating a "50 percent maximum passenger capacity" for land, sea and air transportation is now scrapped, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi gave assurances that other transportation limitations would remain in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

“[Details] on passenger limitations will be regulated through circulars," he said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The ministry previously issued three circulars – circulars No. 11/2020, No. 12/2020 and No. 13/2020 on land, sea and air transportation during the transition to a new normal period.

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Circular No. 13/2020 on air transportation limits the number of passengers on board an aircraft at 70 percent of the passenger load factor. The other two circulars do not explicitly contain such limitations.

Some forms of public transportation in Greater Jakarta saw an influx of passengers earlier in the week as the capital began entering a transition phase that will see the relaxation of restrictions in several sectors following the decision by the Jakarta administration to extend large-scale social restrictions for the third time until the end of June.

Commuter line operator PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI), for instance, recorded 150,000 commuters using its services on Monday, a significant increase from 80,000 per day on average during the previous PSBB period.

Many commuters have expressed concerns over their safety, with crowded stations and trains having the potential to be fertile ground for coronavirus transmission, increasing the risk of a new wave of infection.

A recent report from the national COVID-19 task force show there was a significant daily increase of infections on Tuesday with 1,043 cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 33,076 with 1,923 fatalities.