November 08, 2007

Busway project gets foreign support

Despite the severe traffic congestion it has caused, the busway project is expected to expand, with the city administration having secured support from a foreign transportation institution.

Project director from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) Budi Kuntjoro said Wednesday traffic congestion caused by the construction of busway corridors would be short term and would lead to long-term benefits.

In a meeting with Governor Fauzi Bowo and his team Tuesday, visiting ITDP Asia regional director John Ernst said if all planned busway corridors were completed, the city’s traffic problems would be partly solved.

“Despite the fact the congestion is bad now, in a few months Jakarta’s traffic situation will be better,” he said.

However, he said the city administration should have conducted more extensive planning before starting to construct busway corridors around the city.

“The finished and on-going construction of the corridors has happened too fast, resulting in some imperfections,” Ernst said.

Long waiting periods at intersections, crowded busses and bus shelters and lanes that are not exclusive to busway busses are among problems the system faces, he said.

Such problems hamper the movement of other vehicles across the city and are part of the reason the administration sought the advice of the ITDP, he added.

The ITDP is a New York-based non-governmental organization working to promote environmentally sustainable and equitable transportation policies and projects worldwide.

It received funding from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to assist Jakarta with its busway project.

The UNEP considers the busway system to be environmentally friendly as it has the potential to reduce the number of private vehicles on the streets. Busway busses also run off gas, which is less harmful to the environment.

The ITDP, which has been employed by the Jakarta administration since the beginning of the project, offered nine recommendations to improve the busway system at the meeting Tuesday.

The organization’s recommendations included improving busway’s services overall, more efficient operational costs, improvements in commercial arrangements between the administration and private institutions, improvements to busway’s ticketing system and the introduction of ideal ticket prices.

It was also suggested that better planning be carried out before further corridors are constructed.

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo told the press after the meeting he would establish a team to follow up on the recommendations and would hold regular meetings to discuss the project.

He said the city administration was yet to decide whether it would construct the next five busway corridors next year as the system’s effectiveness was still being discussed.

The administration is also planning to establish a team of stakeholders and transportation experts to discuss improvements to the city’s transportation system overall, Fauzi said. (wda)


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