Sat, 29 Mar 2003

Water charge, bus fare hikes to be decided on Monday

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The City Council will make a decision on Monday on the increases in bus fares and tap water charges as proposed by Governor Sutiyoso in response to requests from the operators of the urban services.

"We will discuss the two issues at the City Council leadership meeting on Monday. Hopefully the City Council will make a decision on the issues," City Council deputy chairman Tarmidi Soehardjo said on Friday.

He was chairing a joint hearing of Commission D for development affairs and Commission C for financial affairs with officials of city transportation agency, the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) and the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) to discuss the issues.

Governor Sutiyoso proposed a 45 percent increase in tap water charges in response to the requests of two water operators PT Thames Pam Jaya (TPJ) and PT Pan Lyonaise Jaya (Palyja).

Previously, Sutiyoso also proposed to the City Council a 28 percent increase in city bus fares in response to Organda's request.

The City Council returned the proposal on city bus fares to Sutiyoso on Monday to be discussed further by the Jakarta Transportation Agency, Organda and YLKI, but the three parties have not reached an agreement on the fare.

The transportation agency still insists on its first proposal that Organda lower its fare hike proposal of 50 percent. But YLKI still rejects any increase in fares unless operators improve their services.

The increase proposed by the Jakarta Transportation agency is Rp 1,150 or a 28 percent increase from the current fare for a regular bus, Rp 1,250 or a 25 percent increase for the medium- sized bus, and Rp 1,400 or 17 percent for the express bus.

Organda's proposed increase is Rp 1,200 or a 33 percent increase from the current fare for the regular bus, Rp 1,300 or 30 percent for the medium-sized bus, and Rp 1,500 or 25 percent for the express bus.

YLKI executive Daryatmo said the transportation fare in the city is 20 percent higher than the price transportation index, particularly as many city buses did not stick to the routes decided by the Jakarta Transportation Agency.

"Public transportation users frequently have to spend more money as the city buses do not reach their final destinations. It can be seen in many city bus routes. Therefore we reject the increase until the city administration can guarantee better services," Daryatmo told the hearing.

Previously, Daryatmo also criticized water operators who demanded an increase in rates while failing to improve efficiency.

He referred to the failure of foreign investors to cut water leakage and improve efficiency after five years of operation in the city.

Water leakage is still some Rp 45 percent of production. The target set of cutting the leakage from around 60 percent in 1998 to 35 percent five years into the agreement has not been achieved.

Meanwhile Chairman of Commission D Koeswadi S. stressed the need for the City Council to make a decision on the two issues on Monday to end the controversy.