Public minivans, locally known as angkot, are not made for traffic in big cities such as Jakarta, an expert says.
“Angkots are just not made for big cities like Jakarta. Their low capacity makes them better suited for smaller cities or towns. This low capacity combined with the increasing amount of angkots makes traffic progressively worse,” Transportation Society (MTI) Jakarta branch head Tri Tjahjono told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
The behavior of Angkot drivers, which is often criticized, also stokes the problem, but Institute of Transportation Studies director Darmaningtyas said that they are not the only ones to blame, because “motorcycle drivers are just as reckless”.
“Motorcycles are small, but there are many of them. Cars are fewer in number, but they take up more space. The advantages of each type of vehicle are cancelled out by the disadvantages,” Darmaningtyas said.
A practical solution to chronic traffic issues in the capital is one of the most expected breakthrough Jakartans wished from whoever wins the upcoming Jakarta gubernatorial election, slated to be held on July 11.
The constantly increasing number of vehicles is blamed as one of the factors adding to the problem. Darmaningtyas estimated increases at a rate of about one million vehicles each year, both two-wheeled and four-wheeled.
As a result of this increasing amount of vehicles, Darmaningtyas said that the average Jakartan had to spend two hours in traffic, while those living on the outskirts of Jakarta spend 4-5 hours daily in transit between their areas and Jakarta.
No single type of vehicle can be blamed for the city’s traffic woes. All vehicles contribute equally to the problem and the city’s public transportation system is also not reliable.
“We need to care more about busways than we do now, because the busway system has gotten worse over the past couple of years,” Tri said, “Nowadays, the services are worse and slower. The bridges connecting the streets to the busway stations are decrepit. The stations themselves are awful.”
Experts say that the most that can be done is to buy more buses for the busway system.
“Nothing can be done in the next five years, no matter who gets elected in the [upcoming July 11] gubernatorial elections. The most the next leader can do is to buy more buses or sort out the angkots,” Darmaningtyas says. (png/swd)