Saturday, May 19, 2007

New busway routes launched

Sunday, January 28, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Even though they are a little short on buses, four new busway corridors were officially opened by Governor Sutiyoso on Saturday.

Promising a full fleet of 216 vehicles to serve the new lines, the governor pleaded with Jakartans to be patient during the initial phase of operation.

The corridors are beginning with just eight buses each. They run from Ragunan to Kuningan, Kampung Rambutan to Kampung Melayu, Pulogadung to Dukuh Atas, and Kampung Melayu to Ancol.

During a pre-launch ceremony Friday, the head of the Jakarta Transportation Agency, Nurachman, had said each line would have 10 buses in the initial phase.

The governor said the administration had to go through a long process to import the buses. He hopes to have all of the vehicles in place by the end of February.

The ceremony at Ancol recreational park in North Jakarta featured a test run from Ancol to Cililitan, East Jakarta. The inaugural ride snarled traffic until the afternoon in several areas along the route.

The administration has high hopes for the new corridors, and is setting a target of 5,000 to 10,000 passengers for the four corridors per day.

In his speech, Sutiyoso said the busway was only a starting point for Jakarta's transportation plans.

The administration has already floated an ambitious goal of 15 busway corridors, two monorail lines, a subway and water transportation.

The city administration has long been criticized for failing to provide public transportation, resulting in the uncontrolled growth of private vehicle ownership and the city's notoriously wretched traffic.

"There is no city in the world that can keep building roads to keep up with the increasing number of vehicles," Sutiyoso said.

Instead, he added, the only way to offset the growth in private vehicles was to provide better public transportation.

"This is why I won't retreat, though there are many opponents to this policy. I want to show that these buses are the best answer to our traffic problems," he said.

Sutiyoso said three more corridors would be built this year. Public transportation vehicles which overlap with the busway routes will be grouped in a consortium.

Nyoman Iswarayoga, a passenger who attended the launch, hoped that the administration could quickly obtain the buses as well as an electronic ticketing system for the new corridors.

"I'm sure people will complain about long waits because the buses are limited," he told The Jakarta Post.

Until the bidding and installation process for an electronic ticketing system is completed, the new lines will use paper tickets.

The three existing lines -- Blok M-Kota, Pulogadung-Harmoni, and Kalideres-Harmoni -- all use electronic ticketing.

A study by the U.S.-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy found that as many as 14 percent people of Jakarta's busway riders were previously private car users.

"Bogota (Colombia) had only five percent shift to their busway service. This is a good result," said Sutiyoso. (02)

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