Tue, 13 Jun 2000

Bogor minivan drivers launch sudden strike

BOGOR (JP): Hundreds of minivan drivers went on strike on Monday along Jl. Semeru, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

The drivers of the minivans were reportedly angry as they were told other minivans would take over their routes and many passengers were not paying attention to the new fare, which is Rp 200 higher than before.

The protesters were minivan drivers of route number 6 plying Bantar Kambing, Merdeka and Bogor and number 6A plying Semplak, Parung and Bogor.

"We want the City Land Transportation Agency (DLLAJ) to promote the new minivan fare and other minivans must not come on our routes," Supardi, 35, the chairman of the Parung Driver Union, said.

The strike, which began at about 9 a.m., involved minivan drivers parking their vehicles along Jl. Semeru, refusing to take any passengers. Soon crowds gathered around the Taman Yasmin area, waiting for alternative transportation.

Even though the public transportation fare was officially raised on June 1, many passengers are still paying the old fare, Supardi said.

"The Parung Bogor route fare is now Rp 1,200, up from Rp 1,000. But many are still paying less than that. Others pay just Rp 500 from Semplak to Bogor, which is set at Rp 700 now," Supardi said.

The group also refused the plan of having an additional 40 minivans operating in the area by the DLLAJ.

"There are already about 1,500 minivans plying the 15- kilometer-long route of Parung Semplak Bogor," Supardi said.

"It's difficult to manage this amount of vehicles so why add more of a problem?" he said.

In response, Bogor Barat Police chief First Lt. Sapuan Riyanto urged passengers to follow the current fare schedule and pay the proper amount.

"People must participate in this matter and not create more chaos by not paying the current fare," he said.

Bogor has been hit by a series of public transportation strikes recently. On June 5, hundreds of bus crews went on strike at Baranangsiang bus terminal, leaving thousands of passengers, who were mostly commuters employed in Jakarta, stranded.

The strike, which started early on Monday morning, was protesting a policy by the bus terminal authorities which favors Kramat Djati buses.

The bus crews were protesting the fact that the Kramat Djati buses benefit by having a special lane for its buses in the terminal, making their buses the only ones that do not have to line up to pick up passengers. (21/edt)