Jakarta Car Free Day more popular, commercial

Jakarta Car Free Day more popular, commercial
Hundreds of Jakartans take part in Car Free Day at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Jakarta on Sunday. Of late, several companies have been using the day for product promotion and have been criticized for doing so.

JAKARTA - As Jakarta's Car Free Day (CFD), which closes off the capital's main roads in Central Jakarta to vehicles on Sunday mornings, grows more popular, not only are hordes of Jakartans flocking to the streets but so are a long line of commercial brands.

Tens of thousands of residents from across the capital come to the centre of the city on Sunday mornings to jog, bike, walk their dogs or simply to just enjoy the capital's wide and tree-lined streets that are usually packed with private vehicles on weekdays, making CFD one of the most popular Sunday activities in the city.

A local police officer estimated that at least 100,000 people gathered between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. every Sunday.

Businesses have also made good use of CFD, with dozens of brands opening booths along roads, some even erecting huge stages for promotional events.

While some people can appreciate how commercialized CFD has become, others are irked by it.

A CFD enthusiast, Lucky Palupi, said the commercial events bothered her as they usually took up a lot of space with their big stages and promotional paraphernalia.

"I've started participated in CFD three years to walk my dog Oscar. But the area between the Semanggi overpass and the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle has just become too crowded due to promotional events. Now I walk in another area, between the [Indonesia Stock Exchange building] compound and Ratu Plaza [shopping centre] - it is slightly less congested there, even though I sometimes encounter motorcycles exiting buildings," Lucky told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Lucky said that the commercial events resulted in high concentrations of people at particular points, making CFD unnecessarily hectic.

Another resident, Neni Suherni, shared a similar view.

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