Officials predict that total holiday traffic using the ferry crossing between Ketapang in East Java and Gilimanuk in West Bali will operate at around 48% of the levels experienced during the Christmas and New Year period last year.
Broken down further, two-wheeled vehicles’ traffic levels are pegged to decrease by 28% and four-wheeled vehicles by 16%. Walk-on passenger traffic is also expected to drop significantly.
NusaBali quotes the general manager of Ketapang-Gilimanuk Ferry Service (ASDP), Fahmi Alweni, who says the expected downturn is linked to the continuing pandemic, the banning of many festive activities and celebrations, and the need to undertake costly COVID-19 testing to travel from Java to Bali.
Alweni said traffic across the straits travel eastward from Java to Bali is projected to peak on Tuesday and Wednesday, 22-23 December 2020. Meanwhile, port officials predict westbound return traffic will be highest on Saturday and Sunday, 02-03 January 2021.
“There will certainly be an increase in traffic when compared to normal days. But if compared with Christmas and New Years’ last year, there will a decrease. This decline is because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We predict a decrease in traffic volume of as much as 48%,” added Fahmi Alweni on Friday, 18 December 2020.
Fahmi said that during the year-end holidays in 2019, some 1.33 million passengers crossed the straits between the Ports of Ketapang and Gilimanuk. Based on a presumed downturn of 48%, the 2020 holiday crossing should total only 692,000 passengers. Two-wheeled vehicles are expected to decline by 28% and four-wheel transport by 16%.
Fahmi cautioned that the prediction of a 49% decline in inter-island traffic was made before the Governor of Bali issued a new policy limiting activities in Bali and tightening COVID-19 testing requirements. More stringent testing requirements will come into force on Saturday, 19 December 2020.
ASDP will be following government policy and guidelines on physical distancing, meaning the once filled-to-overflowing ferry vessels operating during the holiday period will be sailing at 50% of their official capacity.