Wed, 24 Jul 1996

City to issue decree on night transportation

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Surjadi Soedirdja supports an idea to issue a provincial decree on night transportation which was proposed by City Council Speaker M.H. Ritonga, saying that a nighttime-transit system is very important.

"The administration is taking the idea seriously. It is our job to provide the public with transportation vehicles day and night," he said.

The governor also said that he will order the City Land Transportation Agency (DLLAJ) to evaluate the current policy on night transportation.

"There must be something wrong with the implementation of the DLLAJ instruction for private companies to provide night transportation vehicles," he said.

Ritonga said on Tuesday that a provincial decree to force public transport companies to operate their fleets at night is badly needed. He said the existing regulation is not legally powerful enough to convince the companies to operate night transportation.

"I think the administration should make a gubernatorial or provincial decree to provide public transportation," he said.

Ritonga was commenting on the fact that many transportation companies refuse to operate their fleets at night despite the instruction of the transportation agency.

"The instruction does not have the power to force companies to comply. The agency cannot take firm action against those who disobey the requirement and we can only give them written warning," said Hulman Sitorus, the head of program department of the agency.

The instruction, issued in 1994, stipulates that bus companies are obliged to operate 20 percent of their fleets at night.

Two years after the administration tried to make night transport available, people, especially shift workers, still complain about the absence of public vehicles at night.

The condition is caused by the fact that only 12 out of 307 routes in the city are serviced by public transport despite an instruction issued by the head of agency.

"Night transportation services are practically less profitable that daytime services. The number of commuters is much smaller at night," Hulman said.

He said that minibuses and big capacity buses are too big to be used as night transportation vehicles. Passengers have to spend hours just waiting for large buses to fill with people.

As a result, people use unauthorized transportation vehicles which operate at night.

The unauthorized vehicles are mostly privately owned vans which charge each passenger Rp 1,500 (65 US cents) per person. City public buses charge only about Rp 400 per person. (yns)