With new MRT coming, Jakarta commuters are still unimpressed
JAKARTA, The Jakarta Post/ANNJAKARTA -- The recent start of the construction of a monorail and mass rapid transit (MRT) system in Jakarta has failed to impress the capital's commuters, who rely mostly on the Transjakarta bus system.
October 27, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
A Transjakarta user community Suara Transjakarta said despite having been in operation for nine years, the bus transportation system had yet to meet the demand for reliable, comfortable public transportation.
Suara Transjakarta coordinator David Tjahjana said last week that many people still used private vehicles in the city as the busway was ineffective in reducing travel times due to traffic congestion, adding it had yet to reach all parts of Jakarta.
“Many Transjakarta buses cannot pass through their lanes because a lot of cars also use the lanes. As a result, there's no difference between using the buses and private vehicles,” he said in a discussion held at Cattleya Park in Tomang, West Jakarta on Sunday.
David said progress toward an ideal bus rapid transit system was even slower compared to the growing public need for such a system. He added that Transjakarta had no more than 5,000 buses to cater for 350,000 people per day.
“That's why there are still many people who prefer their own cars, which cater for one to three people at a time,” he added.
A participant in the discussion, Nabilla, 16, a student at state Islamic senior high school MAN 10 West Jakarta, said she preferred to go to her school by motorcycle as it was more economical.
“If I use a motorcycle, I only need to spend 10,000 rupiah (US$0.88) for three days, while I need to pay a lot more if I use public transportation.”
Her schoolmate, Nur Wafa, 16, opted for a motorcycle as there was no direct Transjakarta route from her house in Pengumben, Kebon Jeruk subdistrict in West Jakarta to her school in Kembangan subdistrict.
“If Transjakarta provided a direct route, I'd probably use it because the buses are comfortable. The price is reasonable and usually there's some good-looking guys on the bus,” she said.
To attract more people to use public transportation, Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo recently kicked off the construction of the first track of the MRT system, a monorail-based rapid transportation system.
The track, which will connect Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta, will have six underground stations with a total capacity for 173,000 passengers per day. The system is expected to be ready in 2018 and will be a key public transportation mode for people.
David said, however, that Transjakarta would still remain relevant.
“The fact Transjakarta has many shelters that are relatively close to one another makes it easier for people to reach their destinations. The distance between the MRT stations will be greater,” he said.
According to survey engine Indo Barometer, as many as 54.3 percent of 400 respondents believed the Jokowi administration had failed to impress residents in terms of handling the city's notorious traffic congestion.
The result of the survey, which was revealed last week, found 64.3 of respondents blamed the high volume of private vehicles for the congestion, and according to 26 percent, the most reasonable solution was to limit the number of vehicles on the streets.
David also contended that to keep Transjakarta central to the lives of Jakartans, people had to be aware of their responsibilities when using the buses. He said there were still many people who did not know the rules of getting on and getting off the buses.
He added that his community would inform a lot more people, particularly students, about the issue.