Bigger funds proposed

Bigger funds proposed for busway
Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city administration has proposed a larger allocation for the busway project from Rp 120.7 billion (US$14.20 million) to Rp 240.7 billion in the draft of the 2004 city budget, which was submitted to the City Council on Monday.
The total draft budget amounts to Rp 12.16 trillion, a 10.68 percent increase from this year's Rp 11.563 trillion.

City Hall spokesman Muhayat said the additional Rp 120 billion allocation would be used to purchase 50 more buses -- bringing the total fleet to 106 buses -- and build an underpass for the busway's vehicles to turn around in Kota, West Jakarta, and build and equip a repair shop for the buses in Pinang Rante, East Jakarta.

Transportation analysts have criticized the administration on the busway project, which adopts a similar transportation system to that in Bogota, Colombia, saying that it would cause severe traffic jams along the busy main thoroughfares of Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin where offices are located. The busway occupies one of the three lanes in the fast lane on each side of the roads.

The analysts also doubt that many private car owners will make use of the buses to reach their offices once it is implemented because the busway has yet to be supported by feeder services connecting residential areas to busway shelters and terminals.

Several delays in the project have also been criticized.
The busway, initiated in 2001, was scheduled to be launched in February 2002. It was delayed to December 2002, and then further postponed for another year until finally the administration decided to launch it early next year.

However, Governor Sutiyoso said that people criticized the busway project because it was new for Jakartans.
He is optimistic that people will finally accept the project because it accommodates the interests of commuters.
"The administration in Bogota also received such criticism, but now more corridors are demanded by Colombians as the busway is successful there," he said.

The administration has spent Rp 120.7 billion on 56 buses, constructing lane dividers, passenger bridges and bus shelters.
The 56 buses, to be operated in January on the Blok M in South Jakarta to Kota route, are being assembled by an assembling company in Magelang, Central Java.

With the implementation of the busway, other bus operators playing the Blok M-Kota route have been given options by the administration to either join a consortium with the busway, operate as feeders or stay clear of the routes in question altogether. Buses plying the same route will be prohibited from following a parallel route to the busway's.

The busway and the East Flood Canal project are two significant infrastructure projects listed in the city budget. Expenses for both projects reach Rp 1.292 trillion.
The top priority of next year's budget is education and health with a proposed allotment of 29.69 percent of the total budget, or Rp 3.61 trillion. The figure is higher than this year's budget of Rp 2.88 trillion.

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