Wed, 21 May 2003

'Improve transportation to ease traffic jams'

The city administration announced last week a new license plate- based restriction could be imposed on all roads in the city, along with a new busway system later this year. Many motorists are opposed to this possibility. They told The Jakarta Post they would leave their cars at home only when public transportation was reliable, safe and comfortable.

Virna, 24, is a marketing officer at a private company in Warung Buncit, South Jakarta. She lives in Tomang, West Jakarta, with her family:

I disagree with the idea because it would be difficult to implement in real life. I wonder why the proposed policy is being revealed now, when most city residents are having problems with transportation.

It sounds unusual and strange, I guess. I'm sure that it will have no significant effect on transportation problems.

The three-in-one restricted zones do not work well, so forget about this new proposed policy. It will only drive people to find ways to get around the rules.

What if a family has two cars with odd license plate numbers and neither of them can be used for a couple of days? Should we go by taxi or public transportation? Why do we have cars? It's a weird policy.

If the idea is to reduce the number of private vehicles on the road, the government should improve public transportation. Then taxes, parking fees and the price of private vehicles must be increased in order to discourage the ownership of a private car.

Nuning H.S., 54, owns an outsourcing company in Radio Dalam, South Jakarta. The mother of two lives nearby:

I disagree with the license plate-based restriction, despite the fact that I could deal with the policy. I have three cars and it would be no problem to use them alternatively based on the regulation.

However, I am thinking about those who own just one car.

And I do not think the policy would solve the traffic problems in the city.

The most important thing is that the government should improve public transportation so as to encourage people to leave their cars at home. Or the government should ban the use of old cars that are no longer roadworthy.

I wouldn't have a problem taking public transportation if it was reliable, safe and comfortable.

And the busway is a dubious project and a waste of the city budget. It's a lucrative project for a certain group of people that won't benefit the general public.

Cahyo, 32, is a marketing director at a private company in South Jakarta. He lives with his wife and daughter in Pamulang, Tangerang:

I think it's a completely crazy idea. I would be crazy to agree with it. I would say that (Governor) Sutiyoso better be ready to be mobbed if he goes forward with the idea.

He should realize that for many people in the lower and middle classes, the family car is the only reliable means of transportation.

The rich would probably not be affected by the policy because they have more than one car. But for other people this would not work.

If he (Sutiyoso) imposes this policy based on his comparative studies in Columbia and other Latin American countries, he should consider differences in geography, culture and the like. Maybe the system works there, but here it would be prone to irregularities such as license plate counterfeiting.

Besides, I don't think the police would carefully check all the passing vehicles to make sure they have the right license plate. It would be impossible.

I believe this policy to reduce the number of private vehicles on the road, like the busway project, will fail. I'm sure the lucrative busway project will only benefit him (Sutiyoso) and his subordinates.

--Leo Wahyudi S