Sat, 20 Dec 2003

Sutiyoso puts brakes on 3-in-1 policy

Tony Hotland, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The tryout of the new extended three-in-one traffic policy, slated for Monday, skidded to a stop on Friday during a five-hour closed-door discussion between Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso and the busway project team.

Sutiyoso postponed the discussion on the controversial issue to Monday.

"Considering input from transportation experts, the public and the Ministry of Communications officials, we've decided to continue the discussion on Monday. There's no conclusion yet," said busway team head Irzal Djamal, who is also the assistant to the city secretary for development affairs.

Sutiyoso was attending a presentation on the busway project, which includes the extension of the three-in-one policy, by the busway project team. A day earlier, the team had presented the project, to kick off on Jan. 15, to officials with the Ministry of Communications.

Repeatedly asked if the three-in-one policy would still be implemented on Monday, Irzal vaguely said that "I can't give a fixed decision now, the final decision will be taken on Monday."

Had the meeting been successful, the governor was scheduled to sign a gubernatorial decree on Saturday as the legal basis for the implementation of the policy.

The new policy requires a vehicle to carry at least three people, including the driver when traveling on the busway corridor from Blok M, South Jakarta, to Kota, West Jakarta. Sutiyoso earlier stated his preference to extend the policy throughout the day, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Irzal did not say why the meeting ended in a deadlock, simply calling the discussion "interesting".

"There were no critical pros and cons. It was simply interesting and the governor said that we should continue the discussion later because he had other activities," said Irzal.

He added that his team stuck to its proposal, which was the implementation of the busway project, including extending the three-in-one policy and barring cars with certain license plate numbers from entering the central zone on certain days.

The meeting's failure contradicts Sutiyoso's statement during a break. He told reporters to "wait until the meeting ends. I will go in (the meeting room) for a while and tell you the decision on the issues".

"I will make the best decision. Of course, some people will consider it bad, but I'm just proposing ideas. We'll see what the public wants," he said.

Responding to Minister of Communications Agum Gumelar's earlier suggestion that the busway project be postponed, Sutiyoso said that "He does not know what we have planned. This is the city's authority, so he should stick to monitoring".

Sutiyoso also said that he did not see any reason for delaying the project since all preparations were on schedule.

"I don't think we should delay this again because it's been postponed. If its ready, we'll launch the project," he said. However, he added that the project could be postponed again if obstacles prevailed or if the facilities were not ready.

For the initial phase, there will only be 56 buses to transport 20,000 of a total 60,000 commuters from Blok M to Kota. The city plans to add 50 more buses later next year.