Sat, 10 Jul 2004

Busway fails to provide expected solutions

Damar Harsanto, Jakarta

The busway has been serving Jakartans for six months, but some of them still consider the latest alternative transportation a problem rather than a solution.

For Jurfan, a deputy director of a financial firm at the Jakarta Stock Exchange building on Jl. Sudirman, South Jakarta, the busway that stretches from Blok M in South Jakarta to Kota in West Jakarta does not even help him to reach his office.

"My office is located along the busway corridor but it's difficult for me to reach it from home. I have to take my car and it simply means traffic jams on those alternative roads as I have to avoid the three-in-one traffic zone," said the resident of Jatinegara, East Jakarta.

He complained that he had to spend an extra Rp 2,000 (22 U.S. cents) to Rp 5,000 per trip for a joki (a people who poses as passengers).

Fransiska Gazhali, a senior officer at a foreign bank in Central Jakarta, also complained about the location of the busway shelter which is far from her house in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta.

"The nearest shelter (from home) is the Al-Azhar shelter. I must take a bajaj (three-wheeled motorized taxi) to get there since there are no buses or minivans that go there. That's why I rarely take the busway," she said.

However, she jokingly said that she had benefited from the three-in-one policy as she could pose as a joki to get a lift to the office.

"I don't get paid and I can reach office and I'm not so tired," she said.

The TransJakarta Busway Management head Irzal Z. Djamal told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the management had asked an independent team from the University of Indonesia (UI) to help evaluate the busway operation.

"The team, comprising of experts from UI, will help evaluate all aspects of our operations, including infrastructure, services, safety as well as passengers," he said.

Irzal added the team had been conducted surveys for the last three weeks.

"We expect the team to deliver its preliminary result next week. The result will be presented first to Governor Sutiyoso and with his permission we will reveal the result to the public," he said.

The city administration allocated Rp 120 billion last year and Rp 120 billion more this year for the busway project.

At the launch of the busway on Jan. 15, Sutiyoso said he hoped the busway would ease traffic congestions in the capital. He said every day city residents buy 138 new cars which all together would take up 800 meters of road, thus traffic would come to a standstill by 2014.

Soetanto Soehodo, the head of the UI Center for Transportation Studies, which is responsible for the evaluation, said the evaluation would focus more on the impact of the busway including supporting schemes like the three-in-one policy.

The team has questioned traders in Glodok, West Jakarta, who have complained that the three-in-one policy had dealt a serious blow to business.

However, Soetanto refused to detail the result of the survey.

"You can obviously see the flaws including lack of feeder services," he said.

The team will give recommendations and alternative solutions to problems that should be immediately addressed by the busway management.