Wed, 12 Mar 2003

YLKI should get facts straight

Having read the article on the Ministry of Transportation's plan to import secondhand buses from Australia and Japan, it immediately struck me that it was a good idea to cheaply import older buses provided that they were still in good condition. I was therefore surprised to read the reaction of the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI), which expressed its worries about roadworthiness and possible pollution.

I'd just like to point out to the YLKI that it is a daily occurrence when plying Jakarta's roads to find oneself totally engulfed in clouds of thick, black smoke emanating from buses that look more like rusty cattle pens on bald tires than anything approximating to public transportation vehicles.

If a compulsory inspection using the Australian or Japanese standards were introduced here, I am sure the bus problem would be solved immediately. Put simply, no more buses would be allowed on the roads due to their total lack of roadworthiness.

By contrast, I have never seen a bus produce a toxic cloud, even if the bus was old, in the countries referred to above. And there, they really look like buses. The regulations and yearly inspections in those countries ensure that buses, and road transport vehicles in general, comply with the set maximum of emission limits as well as exigencies of public safety.

Rest assured, the imported buses will provide welcome relief for the pollution-choked residents of Jakarta when they arrive.

SOREN LAX, Jakarta