Mon, 17 Sep 2001

Angkot and street vendors the main cause for Bogor traffic

BOGOR (JP): Thousands of public transportation minivans (angkot) and street vendors are the main cause of traffic congestions in the town as they crowd the roads and sidewalks.

There are only 2,422 minivans registered at the local Land Transportation Agency (DLLAJ), but in fact there are about 10,000 angkot operating in the town, according to the agency's head of the traffic unit, Ahmad Syarief.

He said that many of them were registered at DLLAJ office in the municipalities outside Bogor's center, but he also acknowledges that only "a few" roam the town center without a license.

In an effort to manage traffic congestion, Ahmad said the agency has stopped issuing operation license to new angkot operators.

He said that widening the town's road is not an option as it has reached its limits.

Angkot stations at Jl. Warung Bambu, Jl. Siliwangi, Jl. Veteran, Jl. Mayor Oking, Jl. Kapten Muslihat, Jl. Nyi Raja Permas, Jl. Dewi Sartika and the Pomad intersection are the most congested, apart from the fact that sidewalks on these roads are used as trading venues by street vendors.

Another factor attributing to the town's chronic traffic jams is the undisciplined behavior of the angkot drivers who stop anywhere regardless of street signs, to pick up and unload their passengers, Ahmad said.

Also pedestrians who choose not to use the pedestrian bridge when crossing the road is also another factor contributing to the Bogor traffic problem.

"Five people crossing the road could cause a 100-meter traffic jam," Ahmad remarked.

He said that the authorities plan to build a new terminal on a 2-hectare plot of land on the town's outskirts, in Bubulak village, West Bogor.

Fifty-year-old resident Ahmad Kences said one could loose one's life because of berserk angkot drivers.

"One car could be surrounded by about seven angkot who are driven by reckless drivers, if you cross the street without watching out for them, it could cost you your life," Kences told the Post.

He said that angkot started to swamp the town about 10 years ago.

"We used to take becak (three-wheel pedicab) or we could walk on foot. It was so comfortable, we were not afraid of crossing the road because motorists respected pedestrians and cars did not travel at high speed."(21/06)