The Bandarlampung municipality promises recklessly driven public minivans will soon cease to operate and has announced plans for operation of a “safe and reliable” transportation service in October.
The administration is set to operate a bus rapid transit (BRT) along routes currently served by public minivans and state-run Damri buses.
The BRT will operate in the city and its outskirts and is projected to replace all minivans in the city by 2015.
“Forty buses are ready to operate and bus shelters are in the finishing stage so that in October the buses can provide far more comfortable and humane services,” Bandarlampung Mayor Herman Hasanusi said on Wednesday.
He said that despite being equipped with air-conditioners and offering a better service compared to Damri buses and public minivans, bus fares would be the same at around Rp 3,000 (about 30 US cents) a trip.
“The new transportation system models the ones in Japan and Korea. We are making efforts to further guarantee the safety of passengers. We hope that with the presence of the BRT, residents will prefer to take the bus, and not drive cars and motorcycles to work,” he said.
Herman said the BRT was expected to resolve severe traffic congestion in the city, especially from 7 to 8 a.m. and from 3:30 to 6 p.m. daily.
Bandarlampung Transportation Office head Normansyah said in the first stage, the BRT would operate along two of seven routes in the city — the Rajabasa-Sukaraja and Sukaraja-Korpri housing complex in Sukarame.
He said bus shelters would be built at a number of points along the BRT routes. He said 63 shelters were needed along the two routes. The Bandarlampung municipality is working together with a third party to build the shelters.
The BRT, locally known as Bus Trans Lampung, is designed to serve seven routes in the city — Rajabasa-Panjang via Jl. Soekarno-Hatta; Rajabasa-Sukaraja via Jl. Diponegoro; Korpri housing complex-Sukaraja via Jl. Wolter Monginsidi; Kemiling-Ir. Sutami via Jl. Antasari; Kemiling-Sukaraja via Jl. Sudirman; Rajabasa-Lempasing via Kemiling; and Panjang-Lempasing via Jl. Yos Sudarso.
A number of bus companies have obtained licenses from the municipality to operate their buses along the routes.
The Bandarlampung chapter of the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) has targeted that the public minivans in the city would be phased out by 2015, as part of a precondition to implement mass transportation in the city.
Bandarlampung Organda head Toni Eka Candra said the set target had been approved by city Traffic Council members and the Bandarlampung Transportation Office.
“The Traffic Council has agreed that the number of public minivans should no longer increased, they will gradually be depleted in the next four years. This is part of our strategy to replace the transportation mode in Bandarlampung in order to overcome traffic congestion,” said Toni.
Organda data shows 2,800 minivans operated in the city in 2009, and in the middle of 2010, the number had decreased to 1,700.
“The city’s transportation mode should be replaced by one that can serve many passengers, but remains economical and comfortable,” he said.