`Busway not the solution to city traffic problem'

The Jakarta Post - After the postponement of its launch last October due to strong public criticism, the busway system started its trial run last Friday on the designated route from Blok M in South Jakarta to Kota in West Jakarta. However, the public said that the operation of at least 60 buses under the system, which is planned to begin later this year, would likely worsen the traffic. The Jakarta Post spoke with several city residents about their perceptions.

Jubaeri, 53, works as a conductor with a state-owned bus company in South Jakarta. He resides in Rangkasbitung, Banten, with his wife and five children:

I'm sure that the busway system is not the solution to the traffic problem in Jakarta. The size of the thoroughfares remain the same, while the number of vehicles, including public buses, continue to increase. So in what way would the busway alleviate traffic? It would make it even worse, I'm sure.

I have been making a living riding along the streets for 24 years, so I know the exact conditions of the roads. I think the high-ranking city officials are not smart enough to know the real condition.

I guess the busway is just an expensive project, prone to embezzlement and mark-ups.

If the city administration is serious about the traffic problems in Jakarta, it should not easily allow any imported buses into the city. We can see that many imported buses, including used ones, are already operating throughout the city.

In addition, the government should also issue a regulation stipulating that all vehicles of more than five years old to be transferred to other provinces, which are in dire need of public transportation. It will also boost equal development nationwide.

This means that old and worn-out public transportation would be removed from the city. I wonder why decrepit, 30-year-old buses are still allowed to operate on Jakarta streets?

The city administration should be strict in this respect. Start by banning the three-in-one traffic rule, which requires private cars to carry at least three passengers along Sudirman and Thamrin, as it failed to deal with the traffic congestion. Otherwise, the traffic problems will only get worse.

Ryan, 27, is a tattoo artist who works in Blok M, South Jakarta. He resides in Petukangan, South Jakarta, with his wife and three adopted children:

The busway system introduced by the city administration does not make any sense at all. I wonder why the government thinks that the busway could eliminate the traffic jams?

How could the city government intend to add more public buses? The additional buses will only make the traffic worse. Rather than wasting their time addressing the busway, why don't they try to shift the old public mini-buses to other regions in the country?

I think that many people in many regions outside Jakarta badly need public transportation. In my hometown in Yogyakarta, I have to wait for hours for public buses just for a short trip.

The government should also think over the other provinces' development, in which the lack of public transportation is a daily problem. Jakarta is not the only place that should be developed.

It would be better that the city administration improve the management of the existing public transportation in the city. The lack of discipline has severely crippled the traffic in general, I think.

Should the busway system become a reality, I assume that the number of criminals will also increase. Criminals might target busway passengers, who would very likely be from the middle- and high-income brackets.

Anyway, I'm pessimistic, as even educated people could do nothing to block the government's decision. How can I, as a poor person, change it?

Tono, 30, formerly a conductor on an intercity bus, has been unemployed for some time, and is still looking for a job. He resides in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta:

I think Jakarta has a very complex traffic problem. Worse, it's almost impossible for the busway system to be implemented to overcome the problem, let alone to provide a solution to alleviate the congestion. It's impossible and a waste of the city budget.

Now, we can see that private cars and public transportation already fill up the designed route every day. With the busway system, it will be worse.

If the busway system is enforced, this means that the existing public transportation on those same routes must be reduced, which will, in turn, spark new social unrest and threaten security in the city.

Besides, I don't think that the well-off people in the city will be willing to not use their own private cars. They don't want to believe that they contribute to the traffic congestion by driving in their own cars, anyway.

-- Leo Wahyudi S.

No comments: