Pasar Jaya has grand plans for city’s markets
Money for nothing: An air conditioning installation is left exposed on the ceiling of Jatinegara market. Although vendors have already paid additional bills starting this month, air conditioners in several areas in the building are not yet working. (JP/Corry Elyda)
Above the bustling narrow aisles and cramped kiosks on the second floor of the Jatinegara traditional market in East Jakarta, workers can be seen busy in the ceiling, fussing with wires and air-conditioning pipes.
Scheduled for completion in coming weeks, the central air-conditioning system at the market currently works in some areas but not in others, where vendors have been using electric fans to keep cool, despite having paid an air conditioning fee this month.
The market is one of the 26 currently under renovation by city-owned market operator PD Pasar Jaya to improve their competitiveness against a growing number of supermarkets and minimarkets in the city.
Based on data from the Rujak Center for Urban Studies, the number of traditional markets in Jakarta grew 25.17 percent in 2011m=, while the number of giant retail stores grew 74.83 percent.
Pasar Jaya spokesman Yohanes Daramonsidi said on Thursday that the renovations would be based on property assessments.
Yohanes said that Pasar Jaya divided its markets into three categories.
Category A markets serve national trade, have a large economic potentials and are built on land with a high value. The city has 27 traditional markets in this category, including Tanah Abang and Pasar Senen markets in Central Jakarta, Pramuka and Kramat Jati markets in East Jakarta and Melawai Blok M market in South Jakarta.
Yohanes said that Category A markets would be renovated into six-story buildings with facilities such as elevators, escalators, larger parking areas and air conditioning.
“We plan to equip some markets in category A with hotels, apartments and office buildings next to them,” Yohanes said.
Category B markets, serving retailers and resellers in specific areas, would be rebuilt as two or three story structures. Such markets include the Rawa Bening gem center and the Cikini gold center.
Category C markets fulfill the daily needs of nearby customers and can be found throughout Jakarta. Pasar Jaya intends to renovate such markets as one or two-story buildings.
Yohanes said that market categories could change in accordance with property trends over time. “A number of markets lost customers not because of their quality, but simply because the areas have changed from, for example, residential areas into offices,” he said.
In theory, the renovation process might take 6 to 12 months, however Yohanes said that “getting approval from vendors for revitalization is another story.” Some vendors have resisted relocation for years.
In the Prumpung toy market in East Jakarta, for example, some vendors refused to move to a new building provided by Pasar Jaya and chose to open stores in houses and sidewalks, claiming that the shops were too expensive and too small.
Yohanes said that educating vendors, especially on hygiene and tidiness, had not been easy. “It is somehow their culture,” he said. “Some markets lack customers because of their messy conditions. We want to alter perceptions of dirty, smelly and unorganized traditional markets into clean and comfortable ones”.
Rujak analyst Elisa Sutanudjaja said that vendors had to be made stakeholders in the renovations. “Pasar Jaya, as a city-owned company, must work for the public’s sake. Profits should only be an additional result of its work,” she said.
Elisa said that the markets did not have to be sophisticated as long as basic facilities such as sanitation and clean water worked well.
“The company also could provide small parks in the middle of markets for interaction spaces for customers” she said.
Meanwhile, urban analyst Nirwono Joga mentioned the importance of educating vendors.
“Although a building is new, if the vendors’ attitude does not change, it will be useless,” he said, claiming that many newly renovated traditional markets were still dirty.
Nirwono said that if vendors were well informed on professional marketing and hygiene, traditional markets might become a potential tourist attraction in the city. (cor)