Jakarta needs more busways

City needs more busways, says the mayor who started it all
Adisti Sukma Sawitri, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Colombian mayor who revolutionized Bogota's public transportation system has said that Jakarta's administration should focus on expanding the bus rapid transit (BRT) network instead of developing a subway or monorail.

Former Bogota mayor Enrique Peñalosa, who championed the BRT in his city, told a transportation seminar here that it would be cheaper for Jakarta to expand its busway system.

"A subway would cost three times its contract value, yet it would only cover several lines, (but) with the same amount of money you could reach all parts of the city with the (busway) network," he said during a seminar on BRT best practices.

The administration has signed a soft loan contract for the subway with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation worth $800 million, which Peñalosa said could end up costing it $2.4 billion in repayments, while a BRT covering the entire city would cost only $5 million.

"Imagine how many schools and health facilities we could create if we transfer the subway capital into schools and health facilities," said Peñalosa, who is regarded as a public transportation expert after his success in managing the BRT and bicycle ways in Bogota.

The Jakarta administration has been attempting for some years to realize an integrated mass rapid transit (MRT) system that would include the busway, subway and monorail networks.
While the subway and monorail are still waiting for domestic and international financial support, the administration has established seven busway lanes, most of which run in Central and South Jakarta.

While four new busway lanes have opened since the start of this year, people have complained that the buses are too crowded and that there are long waits at stations.
The administration is yet to complete the targeted number of buses for the corridors, which are meant to be able to carry around 300,000 people every day.
That number is already too high as city-owned operator PT TransJakarta only has 159 buses, half the number it needs to transport the daily number of passengers.

This is also why the Jakarta Transportation Board, the special body overseeing the city's transportation policy, recently refused the administration's request to raise busway fares.

"We asked Transjakarta (the BRT operator) to give us a prudent result of the company's financial and service audit, but they did not give us a satisfying result," said board head Soetanto Soehodho.

He said that numbers in the reports kept changing and sometimes did not match the results of the board's field investigation, proving that TransJakarta still lacked good management.

Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso, however, still takes great pride in the busway service.

A keynote speaker at the same seminar as Peñalosa, Sutiyoso talked for 15 minutes on his struggles to implement the BRT as well as his ongoing efforts to create an MRT.
Arriving late and delivering his speech in the middle of Peñalosa's session, he emphasized his commitment to realizing good public transportation in the city.

"I would like to slap (the faces of his subordinates and financiers) if they don't realize the system for Jakartans," he said, although a few months ago he ordered his staffers to create more fast lanes on Jl. Sudirman and Jl. M.H. Thamrin in order to avoid traffic jams for private car owners.

Aside from the soft loan from the Japanese bank for the subway, a consortium of Middle Eastern banks and local banks have expressed their commitment to covering the monorail project, although the loans are still going through the administration process.

No comments: