Sat, 01 Oct 1994

Jaywalkers, street vendors targeted in Operation Zebra

JAKARTA (JP): Jaywalkers, undisciplined commuters and street vendors will be ticketed by a joint team of the ongoing Operation Zebra beginning on Monday.

The Chief of the Traffic Investigation Unit of the City Traffic Police Directorate, Lt. Col. Herman S., said yesterday that offenders will be ticketed under the new fine scale which means they will have to pay between Rp 10,000 (US$4.60) and Rp 15,000 per violation.

Herman said the operation will be initiated at certain points in the city, such as on several roads in Pasar Minggu and at the Blok M Mall shopping center in Kebayoran Baru, both in South Jakarta.

The operation is part of the government's efforts to further enforce controversial Traffic Law No. 14 issued in 1992, which stipulates high fines, ranging up to Rp 6 million, for traffic violators.

Actually, City Regulation No. 9, issued in 1992, which is based on the new law, states that violators will face a maximum imprisonment of three months, or a fine of Rp 50,000.

At the moment, a large number of people are in the habit of jaywalking across main roads, such as Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin in Central Jakarta, even though pedestrian bridges are located just above their heads. Others can be crowding into the roadway, while waiting for buses, which causes heavy traffic jams as cars strive to miss them.

Attracted by the crowds, vendors of various merchandise often set up their counters at the bus stops, which further aggravates traffic congestion. These street vendors, who pay fees of Rp 500, feel entitled to the space they taking up, apparently believing that the fees make their presence legal.

Bus stops

Another target of the operation is the increasing number of undisciplined commuters who insist on getting on and off public transit vehicles at prohibited places. Some of them have defended their actions by blaming the lack of bus stops.

The authorities are cracking down on the jaywalkers, commuters and vendors because their behavior forces motorists to violate regulations, such as by disobeying traffic signs in order to escape traffic jams, Herman said.

Drivers of transit service minibuses staged massive sit-in strikes early this month, leaving millions of commuters stranded. Besides pointing out the higher fines, the protesters blamed undisciplined, hardheaded commuters for forcing them to pick them up and drop them off at prohibited places.

Herman said the operation against the pedestrians, bus passengers and vendors has already been discussed with related institutions, including the City Council, the Prosecutors Office and the Judicial Affairs Office.

The one-month Operation Zebra, which involves more than 1,500 personnel from various institutions began on Sept. 26. It is primarily aimed at improving the ethics and behavior of the entire community in relation to the traffic system.

It is also designed to help provide a better image of the city and its community to participants of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference to be held in the capital and in Bogor, some 70 kilometers southeast of here in November. (bsr)