Mon, 23 Jun 2008
From: The Jakarta Post
By Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Jakarta administration is considering developing a transportation system in the Thousand Islands regency in an attempt to improve the mobility of residents there.

Governor Fauzi Bowo said Sunday some improvements on water transportation needed to be made to support goods and service distribution on the islands.

"To date, Thousand Islands residents still rely on the limited services of water taxis to travel within the area," he said at a City Council plenary session to mark the capital's 481st anniversary.

He said existing water taxis were not reliable enough to supply the residents' demand.

"Therefore, we need to focus on improving the inter-island water transportation system in the regency," he said, adding the administration would thoroughly assess the regency's transportation system.

Fauzi said the administration was mulling two options: to develop a new water transportation mode or to improve existing water taxi services.

"Improving water taxi services also means an improvement on the transportation's safety measures," he said.

Echoing Fauzi, Jakarta Transportation Agency head Nurachman said upgrading water taxis was the most suitable solution.

"The regency has inter-island water transportation operated by locals, but it still needs to provide better safety measures and draw up a transportation plan," he said.

He said the Thousand Islands Transportation Agency should be responsible for transportation system development in the regency.

Thousand Islands Regent Abdul Rahman Andit said there were currently 16 water taxis traveling around Kelapa Island, Panggang Island and Tidung Island.

Kelapa and Panggang Islands are situated in northern part of the regency, while Tidung Island is in the southern part.

"What we actually need is to determine how to best make use of existing water taxis," said Rahman.

"We also need to start thinking of providing life jackets and life insurance for passengers," he said.

The limited number and services of transportation modes has been a major problem in the regency, which has a population of 20,000.

As a result, the regency has seen development at a snail's pace and a low level of budget expenditure.

There are about 130 islands in the Thousand Islands regency. The administrative offices are concentrated on Pramuka Island but most people live on Kelapa Island. The islands has an airstrip on Panjang Island.

A number of small islands there have been developed into tourist areas and resorts for their serene beaches and water sports, like diving. Tourists usually go to Bidadari, Ayer, Kotok, Putri, Sepa and Bira.

Despite being part of the capital, the regency is far behind in terms of infrastructure development.

Earlier this year, an undersea network for power was supplied to the regency by state electricity firm PLN. Previously, the population relied heavily on power generators.



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