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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Confusion in Jakarta on first workday under partial lockdown

  • Budi Sutrisno, Arya Dipa, and Riza Roidila Mufti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 14, 2020   /   11:32 am
COVID-19: Confusion in Jakarta on first workday under partial lockdown Packed together: Hundreds of passengers queue to board a Commuter Line train at Bogor Station in West Java on Monday despite the government’s physical distancing policy. The long lines were caused by the reduction of the train service and temperature checks for each passenger, supposedly to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (Antara/Arif Firmansyah)

The first work day of the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) period in Jakarta was marked by confusion and chaos, with people unsure of the government’s regulations on public transportation.

Commuter train stations in Greater Jakarta were packed with people on Monday morning after the Jakarta administration enforced restrictions on passenger numbers on public transportation.

Many offices still required workers to come in for work despite the PSBB requirement that all nonessential workplaces be closed and implement work-from-home policies.

Read also: Residents told to stay at home for 2 weeks as Jakarta goes into partial lockdown Commuter line operator PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) reported that the buildup of passengers occurred mainly in two of Jakarta’s satellite cities, Depok and Bogor in West Java, which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak but have yet to impose PSBB status.

More than 4,000 KCI service and security officers, assisted by Marine Corps personnel, were deployed to 80 stations to provide commuters with information on the passenger restrictions, PT KCI said.

PT KCI also operated additional trains, adding five extra train schedules at Bogor, Bojonggede and Manggarai stations and arranged queues to comply with physical distancing guidelines.

The railway operator appealed to both regional administrations and businesses to comply with the PSBB status and to help limit people’s mobility.

“We hope the PSBB status will be accompanied by control and supervision from the local administrations, especially in controlling the mobility of community members,” KCI external relations manager Adli Hakim said in a media statement on Monday.

Adli said he hoped all businesses would adopt work-from-home policies.

“Otherwise, they should allow for flexible working hours to account for the limited operational hours and passenger capacity of all modes of public transportation,” he added.

Meanwhile, a lack of coordination among ministries has created confusion among users and drivers of app-based ojek (motorcycle taxi) services.

On April 9, the Transportation Ministry issued Ministerial Regulation No.18/2020 on transportation controls to slow the spread of COVID-19. Among other things, it allows app-based ojek drivers to serve passengers, so long as they wear masks and gloves, disinfect vehicles before and after use, and do not drive when they do not feel well.

Civil groups and politicians were quick to lambast the regulation, signed by acting Transportation Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, as it clashes with Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto’s regulation on PSBB guidelines, meaning enforcement will be challenging.

“According to Health Ministerial Regulation No.9/2020 on PSBB guidelines, app-based ojek drivers can only transport goods, not passengers,” said Djoko Setijowarno, a transportation observer from the Indonesia Transportation Society (MTI) on Sunday.

Previously, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan request to allow ojek drivers to take passengers was denied by the Health Ministry.

Ride-hailing service companies Gojek and Grab disabled their ojek services in Jakarta on Friday, the first day of PSBB implementation in the capital. However, ojek services resumed on Monday.


Read also: COVID-19: Jakarta's partial lockdown deals a heavy blow to 'ojek' drivers Experts have criticized the government for not implementing PSBB status across the entirety of Greater Jakarta, pointing out that Jakarta’s satellite cities were part of the same urban area.

“The satellite cities are home to people who work in Jakarta and are inseparable from the urban economy. The coronavirus does not respect jurisdictional boundaries,” MTI secretary-general Harya S. Dillon told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Experts have argued that PSBB status should be implemented across the entirety of Greater Jakarta.

Five areas in West Java, namely the cities of Depok, Bekasi and Bogor as well as Bekasi and Bogor regencies received approval Saturday to implement PSBB status from Wednesday.

On Sunday, the Health Ministry approved the implementation of PSBB status for Tangerang and South Tangerang cities and Tangerang regency in Banten, meaning all of Jakarta’s satellite areas will be covered. The PSBB status in Tangerang regions will begin Saturday.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said his administration was reviewing a PSBB request for Greater Bandung, which includes Bandung and Cimahi cities, as well as Bandung, West Bandung, and Sumedang regencies.

Ridwan has requested regency and city administrations to carry out large-scale inspections of factories and conduct studies to determine which industries should be given strategic status.

“If no positive cases are found, regents and mayors may allow such industries to operate with physical distancing and health protocols in place,” Ridwan said.

Jakarta Legal Aid Institute director Asfinawati said the buildup of commuters on Monday had exposed the economic inequality in Jakarta, where housing remains insufficient, forcing many who work in the city center to live on the outskirts.

“The [government’s] programs must be calculated by considering people’s needs. People must be provided with social aid immediately, so that the physical distancing policy can actually be implemented,” Asfinawati said.

The central government has prepared several social aid programs for low-income citizens with assistance provided through, among other programs, the Family Hope Program (PKH), basic food cards, preemployment cards, village fund assistance and staple food distribution.