Mon, 23 Oct 2000

City to initiate two new bus routes

JAKARTA (JP): The city administration has expressed its hope that the new bus routes along the capital's main thoroughfares, which are going to be put on offer to bus operators, will support its unpopular three-in-one traffic restriction policy.

An official of the City Land Transportation Agency (DLLAJ), D.A. Rini, who is in charge of the bidding process for the routes, believed that more people would be willing to take buses with the new routes instead of driving in their own private cars.

She said only companies with good buses and strict regulations would be considered for the new routes.

"If the (winning) bus company meets the requirements, we can provide the public a good alternative to using their own cars," Rini said on Friday.

"We do not want to inconvenience the public like we did with the three-in-one policy. Because there were no alternatives, the policy resulted in the presence of three-in-one jockeys that became another problem for the city," she added.

Aimed at reducing heavy traffic in morning rush hours, the city administration introduced the three-in-one policy in 1997. It only allows private automobiles with a minimum of three people to travel the major streets from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m on weekdays and Saturdays.

The policy initially received strong objections from people working in Jakarta's "golden triangle" business district of Jl. Sudirman, Jl. Thamrin and Jl. Gatot Subroto.

The policy is generally regarded as a failure because rather than reducing the number of vehicles, it only resulted in children and teenagers offering themselves as passengers to cars going to the restricted area for the price of Rp 1,000 each.

To combat this unexpected enterprise, police and city Public Order officials have staged occasional cleaning operations along major arteries leading to the restricted area. According to jockeys, mostly children, they were released after paying a fine to the arresting officers.

According to Rini, the most important of the two routes to be offered for bidding will connect Jl. Thamrin and Jl. Sudirman. The other route will serve commuters traveling Jl. Pemuda, Jl. Pramuka, and Jl. Diponegoro to Jl. Imam Bonjol.

The most important route will be tendered next year but the number two route will be tendered for bidding in December this year, she explained.

"The open bid is part of the city's program to reduce traffic congestion in the capital.

We already restrict vehicles (with less than three passengers inside) to enter the area (at certain hours), soon we will offer public transportation as an alternative," Rini.

Participants in the bidding must meet certain requirements such as the age and roadworthiness of the busses and restrictions on passengers standing inside the buses.

The tender is open to the 14 existing bus companies including the city-owned company (PPD) and five minibus firms.

She said her office hoped that the Thamrin-Sudirman project would be operating by 2003 and the other route by 2002.

DLLAJ is also studying other systems, such as sticker, ticketing and electronic monitoring.

The electronic monitoring devices, she said, would be placed at the edge of the streets.

"For now we consider the sticker and ticket system as more feasible because the electronic one is expensive and we may not be able to maintain the equipment. However, we are considering every possibility," Rini said.

She said her office is still waiting for reactions from the police about the ideas because law enforcement will be the main factor to improvement of the traffic situation.

DLLAJ Chief Buyung Atang seems more optimistic, saying that the city administration would approve the ticket system for the restricted area and it could be implemented soon.

"We have been raiding the jockeys since October and I really expect that the ticket system can be tried late next year. It is urgent for us to improve the traffic situation by implementing this policy," he said.(dja)