Wed, 09 Mar 2005

City announces fare increase of 9% to 19%

Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso approved on Tuesday increases of between 9 percent and 19 percent for public transportation fares.

Under Gubernatorial Decree No. 412/2005, the new fares came into effect on March 8.

The new fares, approved by the City Council, are higher than the fare increases of between 6 percent and 15 percent recommended by the City Transportation Council.

To ensure that the decree is properly implemented, Sutiyoso ordered City Transportation Agency head Rustam Effendy Sidabutar to monitor the situation on the street.

After the government announced that fuel prices would be increasing by an average of 29 percent on March 1, complaints began flooding in that bus crews had illegally raised fares by as much as 45 percent.

"With the issuance of this decree, we have a legal basis to take stern action against public transportation operators who illegally charge passengers more than the official fares," Rustam said at City Hall.

Rustam told passengers not to hesitate to report any violations of the decree to his agency.

The decree does not cover the fares for air-conditioned buses, taxis and the busway.

Herry JC Rotty, the head of the Jakarta chapter of the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda), said his association would accept the new fares "despite objections from public transportation operators due to the large difference between the fare increases they demanded and the new fares".

Organda had been asking for fare increases of up to 90 percent.

"We have a dilemma because we have to help reduce the burden on the people following the fuel price hike, but at the same time we need to survive," Herry told The Jakarta Post.

He said Organda would recommend to the administration that it evaluate the new fares within six months at the latest.

"Should the administration find that the fare increase is too meager to allow transportation businesses to weather the severe blow of the fuel price increases, it could revise the ruling," he said.

Several public transportation owners expressed their disappointment with the administration's decision.

"A day after the fuel price hike last Tuesday, we raised the fares on public minivans by Rp 500. We will maintain that increase," said Ramli, who owns several public minivans.

Under the gubernatorial decree, the fare for public minivans went up to Rp 1,900 from Rp 1,600.

The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) said it opposed the fare increases. The foundation said it would only support a maximum fare increase of 10 percent.

"A recent survey by the YLKI found that Jakarta residents have to spend up to 15.78 percent of their monthly income for transportation. That's simply ridiculous. It should be between 10 percent and 12 percent," YLKI executive Tulus Abadi said.

Tulus blamed Jakarta's poor transportation system for the high cost of transportation, which burdens both consumers and public transportation operators.

"The administration must improve the transportation system and not only focus on raising fares," he said.

.rm I-BOX

New public transportation fares as of March 8

Vehicles Old fares New fares % increase

Public minivans Rp 1,600 Rp 1,900 18.75 % Economy-class buses Rp 1,100 Rp 1,200 9.09 % Metromini buses Rp 1,200 Rp 1,400 16.66 % Business-class buses Rp 1,500 Rp 1,600 14.28 % * Student fares remain unchanged at Rp 500 for all public transportation vehicles.

Source: Jakarta administration