Sat, 05 Mar 2005

Busway increases fleet, improves ticketing system

Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

The TransJakarta Busway Management announced on Friday it had added nine new buses to its existing fleet of 56 buses to cope with large numbers of passengers during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

"We started operating those nine new buses today (Friday). These buses will help us reduce the crowding on board our buses, especially during the peak hours from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.," the management's head, Irzal Z. Djamal, said.

Irzal said the nine buses were the first of 35 new buses the administration would procure this year.

"Should the number of passengers grow significantly, we will deploy more new buses," he said.

The busway corridor from Blok M in South Jakarta to Kota in West Jakarta serves about 60,000 passengers during weekdays. That figure drops to 40,000 during weekends because many regular passengers are businesspeople whose offices are located along the 12.9-kilometer corridor.

This first busway corridor was opened on Jan. 15 last year. The administration is preparing to open two more busway corridors connecting Pulogadung in East Jakarta to Harmoni in Central Jakarta, and Harmoni to Kalideres in West Jakarta.

The corridors -- which will reportedly cost the city a total of Rp 600 billion (US$67 million) -- are scheduled to become operational in October this year.

Irzal said the management was exploring the possibility of introducing a distance-based ticketing system for the busway corridors. This new system would replace the current fixed fare of Rp 2,500 per single trip.

Under the new ticketing system, similar to one already in use on the city's trains, passengers would have to pay more the longer their trips.

"If we maintain the old ticketing system, we will have to spend a lot of money subsidizing busway passengers," he said.

Currently, the administration pays a subsidy of between Rp 80 and Rp 100 for each busway ticket sold.

City Secretary Ritola Tasmaya said the administration planned to move forward the construction of 15 new busway corridors to 2007 from the original date of 2010.

Sutiyoso's second term as Jakarta governor ends in 2007.

"We have carried out a study and we estimate that we will have to provide at least Rp 2.5 trillion to help build all of the busway infrastructure," Ritola said.

The City Transportation Agency has allocated at least Rp 10 billion to prepare the infrastructure, traffic management and civil engineering for the fourth to seventh busway routes. Another Rp 3.6 billion has been provided in the 2005 budget to create a system to monitor and control the busway projects.





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