The Jakarta Post
After being ranked last in a safe- city index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) last week, Jakarta has now received the status of the city with the worst traffic in the world, this time by British lubricant producer Castrol.
Castrol's Stop-Start Index examined traffic conditions in 78 cities and regions around the globe, including Asia, Australia and Europe, as well as North and South America. The index, however, did not include India or Vietnam. The index used data shared anonymously by millions of TomTom navigation device users around the world to measure the average stops and starts made per kilometer within each city. The figure was then multiplied by the average distance driven per year.
According to the survey, available at magnatec.castrol.com, Jakarta ranked as the city with the highest number of stops and starts, with an average of 33,240 per driver per year.
Jakarta was followed by Istanbul, Turkey, with 32,520 stops and starts per year, and Mexico City, with 30,840 per year. East Java's Surabaya was also included in the list as the city with the fourth-highest stop-start average, reaching 29,880 per year.
Meanwhile, the least congested cities include Tampere in Finland, Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Bratislava, Slovakia.
Responding to the survey, Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama acknowledged that Jakarta's traffic congestion might well be among the worst in the world.
'Of course it is. So long as Jakarta doesn't have a decent rail-based mass transportation system, we will always be congested,' Ahok told reporters at City Hall in Central Jakarta on Wednesday.
The city's public transportation consists largely of minivans and minibuses, many of which drive recklessly and often stop in the middle of the street to pick up and drop off passengers.
Average starts and
stops per driver per year
1. Jakarta, Indonesia 33,240
2. Istanbul, Turkey 32,520
3. Mexico City, Mexico 30,840
4. Surabaya, Indonesia 29,880
5. St. Petersburg, Russia 29,040
1. Tampere, Finland 6,240
2. Rotterdam, the Netherlands 6,360
3. Bratislava, Slovakia 6,840
4. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 6,840
5. Brisbane, Australia 6,960
The city currently only has one rail-based form of public transportation, a commuter train operated by PT KAI Commuter Jakarta.
Ahok went on to say that the problem could only be solved after the city's rail-based public transportation system was completed. The city is currently constructing an MRT system and is mulling the development of a light rail transit (LRT) system as a feeder to the MRT.
Transportation Agency head Benjamin Bukit said that the city could not limit the growth of private vehicles in Jakarta. The increase of private vehicles, he said, was not followed by an increase in road space.
According to data from the Jakarta Police, the city in 2014 had roughly 17.5 million motor vehicles on the road, a significant increase from 16 million the previous year.
'Meanwhile, the road ratio in Jakarta increases only 0.01 percent each year,' Benjamin told reporters at City Hall.
Therefore, he said, the city would provide decent public transportation so that motorists would no longer have to rely on their private vehicles.
For many of Jakarta's road users, the index has only confirmed what they experience daily.
Naria Regina Oktavia, a private sector employee who lives in Sun-ter in North Jakarta, said she spent more than an hour every day on her motorcycle to reach her office in South Jakarta and added that seasonal rainy weather made traffic worse.
Nico Angelo, who commutes by car every day, said the bad traffic forced him to spend two hours in his car every day in order to reach his office in Sudirman, South Jakarta, from his house in Duren Sawit, East Jakarta.
'I would love to use public transportation, but my house is located quite far from the nearest stop and it requires too much effort to access it,' Nico complained.