TransJakarta Busway is the only mode of mass transportation that the Jakarta administration has. It is true that other modes of transportation do exist in Jakarta in the form of electric trains and big buses, but they do not belong to the local government.
The Jabodetabek electric trains belong to the central government, while the big buses are operated by a central government-owned private company.
The TransJakarta Busway was initiated, implemented and operated by the Jakarta administration through its Technical Operational Unit, the Transportation Agency, known as TransJakarta BLU ( Public Service Agency ).
As the only mode of transportation that it owns, the TransJakarta Busway should be the pride and jewel of the Jakarta administration. Its existence is the result of a painstaking and complicated process because initially many residents of Jakarta opposed its construction.
Its existence cannot be separated from the hard work and efforts of governor Sutiyoso who was persistent in having it constructed albeit with much opposition from the public.
By the end of his term ( Oct. 7, 2007 ), he had been able to lay the foundations for 10 corridors: 7 corridors were fully operational, while 3 corridors ( Corridor 8 Lebak Bulus-Harmoni, Corridor 9 Cililitan-Pluit, and Corridor 10 Cililitan-Tanjung Priok ) were in the process of construction and expected to be fully operational in September 2007.
Corridor 8 has been in operation since April 2009, but it has not been operated fully. It only covers Lebak Bulus-Grogol and uses buses from other corridors.
The local government promised to operate the other two remaining corridors, Corridor 9 and 10, by the end of 2010, but there are no signs of them being operational soon.
The repairs of bus stops in Corridor 10 have not been completed and it will take at least one month to
The transfer of power from Sutiyoso to Fauzi Bowo ( popularly known as Foke ) has brought a great impact on the fate of TransJakarta Busway.
The new governor does not seem to have a commitment to continue the busway construction.
During his three years in office, there has been no concrete action to improve the service of TransJakarta Busway or to operate the other remaining three corridors, although the infrastructure of these corridors has been constructed.
He also did not show any commitment to accomplish the construction of all 15 busway corridors by 2010 as the Macro Transportation Plan has planned.
Governor Fauzi’s lack of commitment to develop TransJakarta Busway is shown from his decision to cancel the plan to construct the remaining three corridors.
From 15 corridors planned for construction, there will only be 12 corridors that will be constructed, and the construction will even be done in several stages.
In 2011, there will only be one corridor constructed and in 2012 another one.
In other words, during his term between Oct. 8, 2007 to Oct. 7, 2012, Fauzi will only construct two corridors, while the other 10 were constructed during Sutiyoso’s term. This is obviously not an achievement. Rather, it is a major failure.
The cancellation of the plan to construct the three corridors will mean the public has even fewer options for safe, comfortable and punctual public transportation, so that it will be impossible to advocate users of personal vehicles to shift to public transportation. On the other hand, the increase of the number of personal vehicles reaches 10 percent per year.
This increase can only be discouraged by constructing safe, comfortable, punctual and affordable modes of public transportation. It is very wrong for Fauzi Bowo to construct flyovers ( Antasari-Blok M and Kampung Melayu-Tanah Abang ) in order to solve the problems of traffic congestion in Jakarta because the flyovers will only promote the higher use of personal vehicles.
It will be very childish and unwise if his lack of commitment to complete the construction of the TransJakarta Busway is because TransJakarta Busway is always associated with Sutiyoso.
A good governor will continue the program of his predecessor if the public considers that program to be good and at the same time he will create a new program to leave his mark.
It seems that Governor Fauzi Bowo wants to focus on the birth of Lebak Bulus-Dukuh Atas MRT that was proposed 20 years ago. There is nothing wrong with this focus, if it does not neglect other existing modes of transportation such as the TransJakarta Busway.
If it only focuses on the MRT and neglects TransJakarta Busway, it will lead to disaster for Jakarta residents. First, the process of constructing the MRT can take a very long time, at least five years.
It means that for the next five years, there will be no good mass public transportation available. Waiting for five years to pass is not a short time for chaos to occur.
Second, during the five years process of constructing the MRT, there is a high probability that traffic congestion will occur on the roads of the construction site and the alternative roads surrounding it.
The traffic jams that occur during the construction years are inevitable.
Third, after the MRT is constructed with its limited route up to Dukuh Atas, the question is with what mode of transportation will the MRT passengers continue their journey to their destinations if the busway is neglected?
Waiting for the MRT route to be constructed up to Kota will take more time, at least three more years after the Lebak Bulus-Kota MRT is in operation.
There are indeed many modes of mass public transportation, but without any good mode of public transportation it will be difficult to force people to leave their cars at home and shift to using public transportation.
The cancellation also creates pessimism on the plan to have a policy to limit the use of personal vehicles. How is it possible to limit the use of personal vehicles when there is no mass public transportation available adequately?
Thus, Foke’s lack of seriousness to develop the busway will create a domino effect and lead to more traffic chaos in Jakarta.
From what is described above, he has achieved nothing in the issue of transportation. Instead, he has failed.
I think Jakarta does not need a smart leader, but one who has the courage to make the right and appropriate decision and listen to what the public says.
The writer is deputy chairman of the MTI ( Indonesian Transportation Community ).