Wed, 10 Dec 2003

Busway kicks off on Jan. 15

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Jakarta administration announced on Tuesday that the controversial busway will open on Jan. 15, in line with the extension and expansion of the three-in-one traffic policy.

Each passenger will be charged Rp 2,500 (29 U.S. cents) per trip along the Blok M-Kota route. The buses will operate from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The buses will be free for the first two weeks.

Passengers must get into the buses at specially designed shelters on the median strips along Jl. Sisingamangaraja, Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Jl. M.H. Thamrin, Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat, Jl. Gajah Mada down to Kota. To reach the shelters, passengers must use pedestrian bridges.

Assistant to the city secretary for development affairs, Irzal Djamal, said construction of the infrastructure along the 12.9- kilometer corridor would be completed by the end of this month.

"We still need two weeks after the deadline for final checking of those facilities and the readiness of drivers to operate the buses," he said.

A total of 56 air-conditioned buses will be operated next year to transport all the 60,000 commuters using the corridor although its capacity is only expected to accommodate around 20,000 commuters per day.

Once the busway is implemented, other buses are not allowed to operate along the corridor and must be rerouted.

To ease traffic congestion, the city will also extend and expand the three-in-one traffic policy, in which a car using the corridor must have at least three passengers from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday.

The city has also given four alternative routes for private vehicles trying to avoid congestion on the main thoroughfares.

Transportation observers have expressed concern that the project will only increase congestion as one of three lanes of the road has been designated for the busway.

Irzal said that 16 feeder services had also been prepared to support the busway operation but it would not be ready next month as there was no certainty which bus operator would secure the contract.

Ticket prices for feeders services will be Rp 2,900 for Zone A inside Jakarta and Rp 3,800 for Zone B outside Jakarta.