Mon, 15 Aug 1994

Haryanto reiterates no hike in fares of public transport

JAKARTA (JP): Minister of Transportation Haryanto Dhanutirto has reiterated that there will be no increase in the fares of public transit vehicles this year.

Haryanto said late last week during a meeting with the elected best drivers of public transit vehicles, the best seamen and the best lighthouse keepers at his office that an increase in the fares of public transit vehicles, if applied now, will, at any rate, burden the public.

Haryanto was referring to the proposal of the Jakarta Chapter of Public Transport Owners' Organization (Organda DKI) on July 11 to the governor's office for a 23 to 120-percent increase in the fares of public transportation.

"No, there will be no fare hike this year," he said.

When asked whether his statement implied that fares would be increased next year, Haryanto said it was too early to conclude that. "Let us talk about it next year," he said.

Haryanto said that he had the right to intervene in the case because as the Minister of Transportation he is the patron for any traffic and road transportation affairs in the country.

During an inspection to the Blok M bus terminal, South Jakarta, last month the minister said that there would be no increase in the fares of public transit vehicles in the city this year because transport operators could still make profits at the current fare rate.

Aip Sjarifuddin, the chairman of Organda DKI, said earlier that the increase was unavoidable because the prices of vehicles, spare parts, lubricants, and other elements have increased substantially.

City councilors concurred with Haryanto about Organda's proposal for a hike in the fares of public transit vehicles.

City councilor Aliwongso Halomoan Sinaga of the City Council's Commission D on transportation said that Organda's request was groundless since prices of petrol and spare parts as well as vehicle maintenance costs have not yet increased.

Sinaga said that Organda should consider the people's ability to pay the fares, and not think only in terms of profits.

Tax exemptions

If the government should refuse the proposed increase, Aip previously told reporters, it should do something to help public vehicle operators by providing, for instance, tax exemptions and other discount facilities.

According to Aip, the organization proposed an increase of Rp 300 (11.5 US cents) from the current Rp 250 per passenger in the fares of regular buses, of Rp 350 from the existing Rp 550 for express buses, of Rp 300 from the present Rp 1,300 for air- conditioned buses and of Rp 250 from the current Rp 300 for middle-sized buses or minibuses.

As for taxis, Aip said, Organda proposed an increase to Rp 1500 from the present Rp 900 flagfall and an increase to Rp 550 per kilometer from the present Rp 450. Organda also proposed that fees for taxi waiting time be increased from the present Rp 4,500 per hour to Rp 7,500.

The last increase in the fares of all public transport in the city was made on Jan. 22, 1993 while the latest increase in the fares of taxis was on Aug. 2, 1991. (arf)