Experts deny being named as busway consultants

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A number of transportation experts from the University of Indonesia (UI) denied on Tuesday that they were involved in the development of the bus rapid transit system, or busway, as has been claimed by the Jakarta administration.
The experts also affirmed they had never approved the development of the controversial 12.9-kilometer corridor from Blok M in South Jakarta to Kota in West Jakarta.

"We need to clarify our position on the busway project. We have never been appointed as consultants as reported by the media," said Sutanto Soehodo on behalf of the experts, grouped under UI's Center for Transport Study (CTS).

He was speaking at a press conference which was also attended by other CTS experts including Alvinsyah, Jachrizal Sumabrata, Taufik Adiwianto and Alan Marino.

Sutiyoso and other officials have frequently claimed that the project has been deemed workable by experts while responding to public criticism of the pilot project set to kick off on Jan. 15.

To support the operation, the administration has enforced a three-in-one traffic restriction along the corridor from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Sutanto said the CTS experts were involved only in drafting the Jakarta Macro Transportation Plan, which recommends, among other things, the opening of 14 busway corridors in the city, including the Blok M-Kota corridor.

But the experts did not recommend the already crowded Blok M-Kota route as the first to operate as it would only worsen traffic congestion along the route, he added.

The original recommendation was the opening of the corridor from Pulo Gadung in East Jakarta to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta, passing through Jl. Pemuda, Jl. Pramuka, Jl. Diponegoro and Jl. Imam Bonjol.

Other feasible corridors are:

  • Rawa Buaya-Grogol-Harmoni;
  • Kampung Melayu-Ancol;
  • Pasar Minggu-Manggarai;
  • Kampung Rambutan-Kampung Melayu;
  • Tomang-Harmoni-Pasar Baru;
  • Lebak Bulus-Kebayoran Lama
  • and Senayan-Pejompongan routes.
Sutanto said CTS also opposed the extension of the three-in-one traffic policy, the trial of which began on Dec. 24 because it would shift the traffic jams to other areas.

According to Sutanto, congestion charges would be more feasible.
"It would be better to enforce charges along the corridor as it would not totally close the option for people who really need to pass the road," he said.

He stressed that, conceptually, the busway was good as it could become a starting point to improve facilities for public transportation users who were so far being ignored by the government.
he added.
"Unfortunately, the implementation of a good concept has sparked controversy only because of its poor implementation,"

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