New gas stations deserted
due to a lack of supply

Jakarta’s three newly built CNG stations remain idle due to a lack of supply, despite demand from Transjakarta passengers to cut the busway’s long headway due to queues.

“Although all requirements have been met and all pipes are ready, we still can’t get compressed natural gas [CNG] flowing in because of problems between the gas distributor and another company,” said Nurhaskim, technical manager of PT Aksara Andalan Prima (Aksara), the company behind the new gas stations.

He added that five months after the gas stations were ready for operation, gas from distributor Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN) had yet to start flowing. It was reported the state-owned gas company wanted to settle some “unfinished business” first with another station owner.

“The strange thing is, their problem had nothing to do with us,” Nurhaskim said.

“We’re a different company that built new gas stations.”

He added PGN had refused to pump the gas, although Aksara would only use the gas company’s pipelines. The gas was to be supplied by PT Pertamina. Aksara requested the gas supply in June 2008.

“But Pertamina can’t pump the gas because PGN still hasn’t integrated the pipes with Aksara’s compressors.”

Aksara has stations at Kampung Rambutan Bus Terminal and Kramat Jati, both in East Jakarta, and one in Tanah Merah, North Jakarta.

But Transjakarta head Daryati Asrining Rini claimed the operator had no problems with gas supplies.

“Our six gas stations serve our buses with no problems,” she said.

However, busway users have complained about the long headway between buses. Shelters packed with passengers queueing for up to 20 minutes for buses are a common sight.

“The buses are on their way to refuel. Please be patient,” attendants at a shelter on Jl. Rasuna Said told anxious passengers.

In Internet discussions about Transjakarta’s services, passengers complained about tardy buses, the main excuse being that of refuelling.

Last year, Transjakarta reported that of the daily average 17 operational hours, three hours were “empty trips”, where empty buses went from the depot to gas stations to refuel.

All Transjakarta buses use CNG, except those on corridor 1, from Blok M to Kota, which run on diesel.

As of the end of 2008, Transjakarta had 335 buses using CNG.

Corridor 2 (Pulogadung—Harmoni) has 55 CNG-fuelled buses, corridor 3 (Kalideres—Harmoni) 71, corridor 4 (Dukuh Atas—Pulogadung) 48, Corridor 5 (Kampung Melayu—Ancol) 23 out of a planned 30, corridor 6 (Ragunan—Kuningan) 53 and corridor 7 (Kampung Rambutan—Kampung Melayu) 85.

Corridor 1 has 91 buses.

Governor Fauzi Bowo said the city administration would soon release detailed information about the delay in the gas supply.

“The characteristics [of every CNG station] are different. There are also different procedures and measures in this issue,” he said.

“We’re still trying to resolve the problem quickly.”

He denied allegations the delay was due to the administration’s debts to PGN.

“That’s not true, because we never signed a direct contract with PGN,” he said.

Neither PGN nor fellow supplier Petross Gas were available for confirmation.

In 2006, the city and PGN agreed to build 77 CNG stations, but no deadline was given. It was believed the new stations could serve 900 Transjakarta buses, 16,732 taxis, 4,700 public minivans and 247 minibuses. The city wanted to push for CNG for cleaner air. (iwp)

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