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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: City-wide transport restrictions cause buildup at Transjakarta, MRT stations

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 16, 2020   /   12:11 pm
COVID-19: City-wide transport restrictions cause buildup at Transjakarta, MRT stations Passengers line up to enter Lebak Bulus MRT Station in Jakarta, Monday, March 16, 2020. Jakarta Administration limits the public transportation to reduce the spreading of the Covid-19 virus. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

A restriction on the operational hours of public transportation imposed by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 appears to have backfired, with large crowds and long lines building up at Transjakarta and MRT Jakarta stations across the capital on Monday.

City-owned bus operator Transjakarta is operating only13 of its 248 routes, with 20-minute headway expected for each bus. As a result, long lines began to accumulate at stations, stretching onto the streets at sidewalks.

Read also: Jokowi calls for ‘social distancing’ to stem virus spread

Lia Muspiroh, a Transjakarta user who usually takes a bus from the Mangga Besar Station in West Jakarta, said she was shocked to find people crowding the usually quiet shelter on Monday morning.

“I don’t mind the restriction, but there should be more [buses] operating. Passengers are squeezed against each other inside the buses,” she said as reported by kompas.com.

Transjakarta management announced the restriction on Sunday, saying it would only operate 13 routes from March 16 to 30. During the same period, the company will also suspend its evening services (AMARI).

Dividers are provided at bus stations so that passengers can stand at a distance from one another. Transjakarta said it would also adjust the distance between seats inside its buses to minimize contact between passengers.

However, pictures spreading on social media have shown commuters — many wearing face masks — squeezing into packed buses and stations.

Transjakarta passengers queues at Puribeta Transjakarta shelter, Tangerang City, Monday, 3/16/2020. Due to the changes in schedules and routes to the anticipated spread of the Corona virus, thousand Jakarta public transport passenger are stranded. Transjakarta passengers queues at Puribeta Transjakarta shelter, Tangerang City, Monday, 3/16/2020. Due to the changes in schedules and routes to the anticipated spread of the Corona virus, thousand Jakarta public transport passenger are stranded. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

The restriction was part of the city administration’s efforts to promote social distancing as Jakarta grapples with an increasing number of COVID-19 infections.

Besides Transjakarta, city-owned MRT Jakarta and LRT Jakarta have also imposed similar measures.

Transjakarta urged Jakartans to stay home as much as possible.

“We urge our customers who do not have important business matters to stay at home,” the company posted on its Twitter account, which had many replies from netizens lambasting the restriction as useless as not all companies have allowed their employees to work from home.

Crowds and long lines were also seen at MRT stations. MRT Jakarta reduced the number of cars for each train to four from the usual 16, bringing down the maximum capacity from 300 people to 60.