Thu, 27 May 2004

City to scrap 200 buses as part of new busway

Damar Harsanto, Jakarta

The city's second busway corridor from Kalideres in West Jakarta to Pulogadung in East Jakarta will result in the decommissioning of around 200 buses operating on routes that overlap with the 33- kilometer express corridor.

Jakarta Transportation Agency head Rustam Effendy Sidabutar told reporters at City Hall on Wednesday that the 200 buses were owned by four bus operators -- Steady Safe, Mayasari Bhakti, Arief Rahman Hakim (ARH) and state-run bus operator PPD.

"We have invited the four bus operators to take part in the busway project by combining them in a new consortium. The consortium will operate the buses along the new busway," he said.

The city's maiden busway project, which was launched on Jan. 15, involved the decommissioning of 149 buses plying seven routes that overlapped with the 12.9-kilometer busway corridor stretching from Blok M in South Jakarta to Kota in West Jakarta. The administration also directly appointed the companies to manage the day-to-day operations of the busway in order to stave off resistance from the companies that owned the buses in question.

Despite the inauguration of the first busway route, many buses serving routes overlapping with the Blok M-Kota route continue to operate. Apparently oblivious to the reality witnessed by Jakartans every day, the transportation agency blatantly denied the report.

Rustam said the consortium -- comprising four bus operators affected by the second busway corridor -- would be a separate entity from the existing PT Jakarta Express Trans (JET) that manages the operation of the Blok M-Kota busway corridor.

He added that the consortium membership would also be open to other companies, including foreign firms, as it needed a massive injection of fresh money to procure the planned fleet of 187 buses that will serve the route.

The new busway corridor will be divided into two sections: from Kalideres bus terminal to the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta and from Monas to Pulogadung bus terminal.

The construction of the physical infrastructure for the new corridor will start in June with the estimated cost being Rp 600 billion (US$64.8 million).

This figure does not include the cost of the new buses, which are expected to cost around Rp 1 billion each -- more expensive than the first busway buses, which were Rp 830 million each.

It is planned that Jakarta will have a total of 14 busway corridors in the future to help ease the chronic traffic congestion in most parts of the city and encourage private motorists to switch to public transportation.