Fri, 18 Jul 2003

'Old car ban reduces revenue'

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city administration rejected on Thursday an idea to restrict old cars from being driven, as it could possibly reduce the city's revenues from vehicular taxes.

"Restricting old cars could hamper the city's revenues from vehicular taxes. It is still being discussed," City Revenue Agency head Deden Supriadi told reporters.

Deden said if old cars were not allowed on the streets, it would significantly reduce the city's revenues since the taxes made a significant contribution.

He said this year, the city had targeted Rp 2.2 trillion from vehicular taxes, part of this year's city budget of Rp 11 trillion, of which 50 percent had already been met by June.

Deden said he would agree if the restriction was only for those vehicles which were transported to Jakarta from other regions, which totaled around 15,000 vehicles per year. Private cars reaches some 1.5 million per year.

Public debate on the restriction of old cars has been ongoing for some time, but this was the first time it was officially proposed in the bylaw on transportation, which is currently being deliberated by the City Council.

The restriction appeared under Article 29, Paragraph 2 of the draft bylaw on land, railway, river, lake and ferry transportation.

The council is scheduled to endorse the bylaw next month.

Transportation experts blamed the chaotic transportation to the uncontrolled number of private vehicles in the city, while environmentalists concurred and said that 65 percent of hazardous substances in the air over the capital came from automobile emissions.

Daryatmo, an executive at the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI), expressed his support for the city administration's idea to restrict old cars in the city, but advised that they implement it prudently.

He said that the restriction of the old cars should be carried out only after the city had provided alternative public transportation.

"Without it, the restriction would be unfair to the people," Daryatmo told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Councillors, however, are still divided on the issue.

Chairman of Council Commission D for development affairs Koeswadi Soesilohardjo said that the restriction of old cars could be accepted, as it would help ease traffic congestion during rush hour.

Spokesman of Council Commission A for legal and administrative affairs Iskak Iskandar said that the age of cars could not used to determine the restriction, as there were many old vehicles still in good condition.

"I hope the city administration will not endorse the restriction, as there are many people who are not capable of replacing them with new cars," he said.

The age criteria for determining whether or not a car could be classified as "old" was not made clear.