Skywalks and bendy buses for busway

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Come January, Busway riders will notice a few new things about the system.

The Jakarta Transportation Agency plans to build transfer bridges between different corridors and stations to save space and make trips more convenient.

The agency will also bring in articulated, or "bendy", buses for corridor V between Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta and Ancol in North Jakarta.

"We will build a sky walk between paid areas and transfer bridges in Senen, between Matraman and Pramuka and between Dukuh Atas and Landmakr," said agency traffic management unit head Muhammad Akbar on Monday.

"This will make traveling with the busway faster. People holding paid tickets won't have to go out of paid areas," Akbar said.

The longest sky bridge will be one connecting corridors V and I along Jl. Sudirman, which will stretch about 200 meters.

Akbar said the agency would also build "floating" stations above the bus way on corridor V on Jl. Mampang Prapatan.

"Because the street there is really narrow, we have be innovative to make use of the space," he said, adding that the ticketing booth and transaction area would be in the floating station and passengers would access the bus via a ramp. Three floating stations will be built over the Jl. Mampang Prapatan crossroads in front of the Immigration Office.

"Usually, we have around three or four square meters of land to build a busway station on. But in this area, we only have about one or two square meters," Akbar said.

Articulated buses, which consist of two buses connected by an accordion bend, will also help smooth out the busway system.

"So far we can only accommodate corridor V due to its straight road. We'll see if we can implement it in other corridors," Akbar said.

Jakarta Park Agency head Sarwo Handayani said the agency would consider providing plants and flowers for the bridges and stations if space permitted.

"We can put bougainvillea flowers on the bridges. As soon as we know if it's possible we can start making arrangements," she said Monday.

Some residents have suggested that if the articulated buses help reduce congestion in corridor V then they should be used on all routes, while others are concerned they may not work.

Oki Gultom, who lives in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, and works on Jl. MH Thamrin, said Monday that the articulated buses might be redundant and inefficient in areas where other vehicles crossed paths with busway buses, such as around the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta.

"During busy times in corridor I (Blok M in South Jakarta to Kota in West Jakarta), buses catch up with each other within three minutes. If the capacity and quantity of single buses is to be reduced and replaced with double buses, then it might be effective to maintain a time lapse between the buses," he added. (03)

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