The Jakarta Post
The trial electronic road pricing (ERP) system on Jl. Sudirman in Central Jakarta, which has been going on for several days, has shown certain weaknesses in its gantry, or physical framework, especially in detecting cars' license numbers.
Jakarta Transportation Agency head Muhammad Akbar said recently that the ERP gantry, installed by Sweden-based road telematics company Kapsch TrafficCom, had successfully communicated with the on-board units (OBUs) installed in two cars.
'When the cars passed the gantry, the data of the OBUs, including the time and date, was automatically read. It means that the system could detect the OBU and the transaction could be conducted,' he said.
Akbar added, however, that the gantry was unable to detect the Indonesian license plate numbers. 'It could not read our license numbers because the gantry is designed to detect European plate characters,' he said.
Nia Djamhur, the marketing director of Kapsch's local partner PT Alita Praya Mitra, said besides being designed for European plate numbers, modified plates were also difficult to recognize.
'Many number plates are bent, modified or framed in Jakarta. This is a challenge for us in upgrading the system,' he said, adding that the company would fine-tune the system during the three-month trial.
Recognizing plate numbers is important for the ERP as it is the method of detecting cars without OBUs.
'From the license [plate], we will get the information like the owner's name, and the address where we will send the ticket,' Akbar said.
Nia said her company would also keep an eye on the gantry's condition as Jakarta has harsh weather conditions that could affect the durability of the framework. 'We have to pay extra attention to the environment as the humidity and the thick dust are different to that in Europe,' she said.
The ERP program, initiated last year, is set to decrease the number of private vehicles on major thoroughfares in Jakarta. Besides Kapsch, Q-Free from Norway is also set to conduct an ERP trial on Jl. HR Rasuna Said in South Jakarta. The trial will start in September.
The city administration has given the opportunity for any company that wishes to trial its system before participating in the ERP tender. The best company will develop and run the ERP system in Jakarta.
Acting Jakarta governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama previously said that the charges for the ERP would be provisional.
'If Rp 30,000 [US$2.58] does not decrease the number of the vehicles on the street, we will increase the charge until it is successful,' he said.
Jakarta Transportation Council (DTKJ) member Izzul Waro said he hoped that the ERP system could generate revenue for the city administration. 'Congestion causes economic loss as much time and fuel is wasted. The ERP is expected to compensate for the losses. The money will be officially received by the city administration and will be used for public services,' he said.
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