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JAKARTA - Facing a meltdown in its transportation system, the Jakarta government now dreams of a high-speed subway, elevated trains and modern buses to efficiently move its 12 million inhabitants. Experts conducting a S$15-million study hope to ease the severe gridlock that often turns a 5-km trip into a half-hour crawl.
They are due to issue a transportation-system master plan next June and warn that Jakarta could see debilitating traffic jams within a few years unless officials act now.
Mr Tomokazu Wachi, a consultant with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), which is helping to fund the study, said: 'The problem is severe. It is already disruptive to common everyday activities and very frustrating.'
The experts acknowledged that the city's transportation problems have become so severe that it might be nearly impossible, in terms of cost alone, to implement projects to improve the quality of life here. Just how bad is the transportation problem in the capital now?
Only 5,000 buses - half the 10,000 required to give adequate service - ply the city's roads, forcing passengers to cram onto overcrowded, non-airconditioned vehicles. The number of trains connecting Jakarta to its suburbs has remained the same for the past decade or so, but passenger demand has increased by 20 per cent during the past five years.
Among the options the study team is considering are a subway system, elevated trains, hub terminals connecting commuter rail to the city trains and buses, kilometres of additional roads and highways, and special road lanes for public-transit vehicles.
Many of these projects, however, are likely to remain on paper given Indonesia's tight financial position, the dense level of development within the city and the high costs involved. Mr Wachi said: 'MRT and other projects would be prohibitively expensive. So we also think up cheaper, more implementable options.'
For example, beginning in December, Jakarta is planning to reserve one lane on major roads for buses and force passengers to board only at selected areas near pedestrian bridges. Currently, buses and minibuses stop and pick up passengers wherever they want, contributing to traffic jams especially within Jakarta's business district.
'For cheaper options to work, the people have to change their habits, transport operators have to obey regulations, and the authorities have to enforce the laws. I'm not sure that's realistic here,' the Jica consultant said.

Problems may be too big to solve

Problems:

  • No footpaths, pedestrian bridges and traffic lights.
  • 5,000 buses where 10,000 are needed. Also, buses are badly maintained and pollute the city.
  • Trains are overcrowded and do not follow schedules.
  • Millions of cars and motorcycles clog up roads, and people ignore traffic rules without fear of fines.

Potential solutions:

  • MRT system, underground or elevated, to move millions.
  • Modern, well-maintained buses that stop only in designated areas.
  • Additional roads and highways.

Why solutions may not work:

  • MRT system and terminals may be too expensive to build.
  • Jakarta is already densely developed and may not have room for a mass-transit system.
  • Cheaper options may require residents to break bad habits and obey rules.




Posted in General @ 19 July 2002 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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