Fri, 14 Feb 2003

Integrated transportation sought in Greater Jakarta

Novan Iman Santosa, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Driving a car or taking public transportation within Greater Jakarta can be an ordeal for most of us, as neither is enjoyable, especially at peak hours.

A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed that commuters from Jakarta's adjacent cities took one-and-a-half-hours on average to reach their workplace in Jakarta due to traffic congestion.

A study on the integrated transportation master plan for Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi (SITRAMP) is aimed at producing an integrated transportation plan to solve traffic problems in the city.

A JICA team under the leadership of Tomokazu Wachi is currently preparing the plan, expected to be finalized by 2004.

Wachi presented the team's second progress report on the study on Monday to a limited meeting attended by transportation experts and citizen representatives, as well as The Jakarta Post and Kompas daily newspapers.

Last November, Wachi delivered the study's first progress report on the data analysis of a transportation survey at which he revealed that there had been an almost 10-fold increase in traffic flow between 1985 and 2002.

Only 76,300 trips were made when the first SITRAMP was made in 1985, compared with 716,000 trips during the second SITRAMP last year.

On Monday, Wachi focused the report on the action that should be taken to improve transportation in Greater Jakarta.

"Regional administrations in Greater Jakarta should increase their coordination to tackle traffic problems in the area.

"A clear identification of role-sharing is also needed between the central government and regional administrations at the provincial, municipal and regency levels," he said.

Wachi cited three possible institutional setups to establish such coordination.

"We can either strengthen an existing institution or establish a metropolitan-wide transportation authority," he said.

"The third option is to establish a metropolitan regional transport planning commission."

However, chairman of the Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI) Suyono Dikun said such an independent regulatory body (IRB) would be difficult to establish as long as there was no party strong enough to lead the various agencies involved.

"I have been campaigning for such an IRB for more than 10 years, yet it still does not exist.

"We need strong leadership in such an institution, able to direct various local agencies that have differing interests," he told the participants.

The study also strongly recommended the creation of more job opportunities outside Jakarta to reduce congestion inside the capital city.

In the short term, Wachi said, the administrations should provide more priority to bus transportation by installing busways, or bus priority lanes.

"This will secure the space needed for future rail-based transportation system development. We must also integrate the existing railway and bus services.

"A traffic restraint scheme, such as road pricing and parking policy, should be implemented as soon as the level of public transportation is improved," he added.