Thu, 04 Aug 1994

Closed-door rule for minibuses starts next year

JAKARTA (JP): Police have given owners of public transit vehicles, including the 12-seat minibuses, until early next year to fully comply with the closed-door policy.

"Starting January, 1994, we shall fully enforce the policy, inclusive of minibuses," City Police Chief Maj. Gen. Mochammad Hindarto told reporters Tuesday after receiving executives of the Jakarta chapter of the Land Transport Owners' Organization (Organda) at city police headquarters.

During the meeting, M. Hutabarat, the head of Organda's division for minibuses, said that some owners of the 12-seat minibuses across the city, such as Mikrolet and KWK, had installed additional apparatus allowing their drivers to open and close the doors automatically.

The implementation of the policy in May this year has been postponed by the police in the wake of outcries from minibus owners.

The closed-door policy as dictated by the 1992 Traffic Law obliges the crew of public transit vehicles throughout the capital city, including minibuses, to close their doors while their vehicles are in motion.

All public transport companies abided by the rule, except owners and drivers of minibuses, such as KWK, Mikrolet, and Angkutan Perkotaan, whose crews went on strike in protest of the implementation of the regulation.

The owners and drivers of the minibuses argued they could not afford conductors solely for opening and closing the doors, that they could not do the job themselves due to lack of the equipment to do so.

In response to protests which paralyzed traffic and stranded thousands of passengers in some areas, police have given the owners and drivers of minibuses until December to outfit a special door apparatus.

The new system will make life easier for drivers since a new lever-like device will allow them to open and close the door without having to leave the driver's seat.


During Tuesday's audience, Hutabarat said owners and drivers of the small minibuses were now prepared to fully comply with the closed-door policy.

Hutabarat said the minibuses will be equipped with a special "handle" positioned next to the driver, which can be easily used to open and close the vehicle's door.

"Of the 9,450 small minibuses across the city, 50 have been equipped with the special equipment," Hutabarat said.

The handle, which can be installed in a hour and is priced at Rp 75,000 (US$34.9) each, is available from FX Jacobus Jut, the owner of "Ave Maria" workshop in Bekasi.

In anticipation of the full implementation of the closed-door policy, Hindarto said that all small minibuses operating in the city have been required to install the device in order to pass the roadworthy tests.

"Thus, we expect all of the minibuses to have installed the device by the end of the year," Hindarto said.

Hindarto stressed that the closed-door policy was aimed at improved passenger safety, not to impose a burden on the owners and drivers of minibuses. (jsk)