Hari Raya Aldilfitri. It’s that time of year again when at least half of Malaysian motorists hit the roads to balik kampung or enjoy a quick getaway for the long holiday.
With it, comes the dreary traffic where a journey from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, for example, takes 12 hours (as opposed to the usual four), four hours to Temerloh, Pahang (as opposed to 90 minutes) and 12 hours to Kuala Terengganu (five hours on normal days).
Highway concessionaire PLUS Malaysia alone expects two million vehicles on its highways during the Raya season.
Before we get to the schedule, let’s talk safety for a bit:
Checklist Before Hitting the Road
1. Vehicle fit for long journey:
- Tyres – Enough grooves (bunga) and properly inflated. Inflate spare tyre, too.
- Fluids – Make sure your vehicle if fitted with new fluids like engine and transmission oils, power steering, brakes, radiator coolant and washers.
- Lights – A quick walk around is enough to check this.
- Gadgets – Dash cam, GPS apps, power banks, phone cables, etc
- Emergency – First aid kit, tools, emergency numbers like your insurance road assistance and highway assistance.
2. Touch ‘n Go card
Check the balance on your card and reload accordingly BEFORE travelling to ensure a smooth journey.
3. Snacks and Drinks
Stock up on these essentials like coffee BEFORE travelling because things get more expensive at rest stops and petrol stations. According to a book written by preacher and missionary Datuk Ismail Kamus and Mohammad Nidzam Abdul Kadir entitled Soal Jawab Remeh-Temeh Tentang Puasa Tapi Anda Malu Bertanya (Basic Questions About Fasting You’re Embarrassed to Ask), it’s OK for Muslims to break fast during Ramadan as a musafir (traveller) going at least 90 kilometres to the intended destination. You can replace the fast another day. This is VERY important to ensure you are well-hydrated and energised to avoid things like microsleep – one of the top causes of deadly road accidents. If you’re still sleepy even after coffee, just stop and get a nap. Better safe than sorry.
“Whoever is ill or on a journey (may break the fast) and replace it another day.”
Surah al-Baqarah: 185
Now, going back to the highway schedule …
How Can Road Users Minimise This Raya Traffic Headache?
1. Follow the travel time advisory (TTA) schedule issued by all highway concessionaires.
For PLUS highway – Motorists heading to closer locations from Kuala Lumpur like Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca are encouraged to enter the highway after 10am.
Those travelling further can start the highway journey before 10am. For details on the TTA, download the PLUS App on Google Play and App Store to plan your best time to travel. The app also features an ‘SOS’ button for roadside assistance.
Although we have yet to find this year’s TTA schedule from ANIH Berhad, the concessionaire for the East Coast Expressway, commonly known as LPT, the schedule from previous Raya season still applies. Read the breakdown below:
Those travelling from Kuala Lumpur/Selangor should enter (the infamously congested) Gombak toll at:
To Pahang: 11am – 3pm; or 7pm – 11pm
To Terengganu: 6am – 10am; or 5pm – 8pm
To Kelantan: 6am – 10am; or 5pm – 8pm
To Other Destinations: Flexible journey time between 12am – 6am
As for the journey back to Kuala Lumpur/Selangor:
From Pahang: 6am – 10am; or 7pm – 11pm
From Terengganu: 8am – 11am; or 8pm – 10pm
From Kelantan: 5pm – 9pm; or 9pm – 12am
From Other Destinations: Flexible journey time between 12am – 6am
2. Use alternative roads
While we may think there’s no way of escaping traffic during Raya, it’s still a festive season – time of joy! It’s important to stay calm and optimistic to avoid road rage, which inevitably leads to accidents.
Other than highways and main roads, there are alternative routes you can use to get to your destination. The Public Works Department recently issued a list of alternative roads in Peninsular Malaysia motorists can opt for a smoother journey. Download the list here.
That’s it. Drive safe, everyone!
Alternatively, you can skip the Raya traffic exodus by flying! AirAsia provides extra flights from Kuala Lumpur to various domestic destinations so everyone can balik kampung faster. Get your seats now at airasia.com.
Selamat Hari Raya!