Tue, 30 Aug 1994

Mikrolet drivers protest closed-door regulations

JAKARTA (JP): Many of the 12-seat Mikrolet minibuses are protesting the Jakarta chapter Land Transport Owners' Organization (Organda) decision requiring them to install a special door "handle" at one establishment.

The installation of the additional lever-like handle enables the drivers to open and close the doors without having to leave the driver's seat.

"It's not fair because the price set by the cooperative is higher compared to other places," said Syamsurizal, a driver of Mikrolet plying the Senen-Kampung Melayu route told The Jakarta Post yesterday.

He added that the Budiluhur cooperative, a place appointed by Organda for Mikrolet to install the additional apparatus, set the price at Rp 75,000 (US$34.9) per car, Rp 45,000 higher than the price at other places.

Anto, a driver of a Mikrolet plying the Kampung Melayu-Pasar Minggu route, concurred with Syamsurizal about the matter saying that minibus drivers will go on strike again if Organda does not review the policy.

The closed-door policy as dictated by the 1992 Traffic Law obliges the crew of public transit vehicles throughout the capital city, including the 12-seat 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 early this year.

The drivers of the minibuses argued they could not afford conductors solely for opening and closing the doors.

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 after they postponed the implementation of the policy in May in the wake of protests from minibus drivers.

Police said that the closed-door policy was aimed at improved passenger safety, not to impose a burden on the owners and drivers of minibuses.

Syamsuddin, another Mikrolet driver, suspects that there is something behind Organda's policy. "Maybe some people want to make money for their own interests," he said. (yns)