January 16, 2004

Experts: TransJakarta’s New Bus System Can Drastically Improve Transit Service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jakarta’s new bus system, which opens its first stretch tomorrow, will save passengers up to an hour in travel time, according to international transportation experts.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) issued a preliminary draft of a 100-plus page report today assessing the TransJakarta bus system.  Based on reviews performed over the last year by some of the world’s top bus rapid transit experts, the report concludes that, once expanded and improved, the TransJakarta system will save passengers up to an hour in travel time.

“Jakarta is a perfect city for bus rapid transit, and it could one day be the finest system in the world,” said Paulo Custodio, a key designer of the TransMilenio bus rapid transit system in Bogotá.  “The public transit demand in the corridor is not high enough to justify a metro or a monorail.  TransJakarta is going to have a few problems when it first opens, but so do all busway systems.”

The Report’s Key Findings

Traffic disruptions are temporary growing pains as the system develops

  • The first 12.9 km TransJakarta line is too short to serve most passengers.  Until TransJakarta is 25km to 30km long, and more existing bus routes are replaced with feeder buses, demand on TransJakarta will be too low to cover its cost or to reduce traffic congestion.
  • Once the planned Line 2 from Harmoni to Pulo Gebang is completed, and the planned feeder lines are in place, TransJakarta will not only be self-financing but also will reduce congestion in the corridor.

TransJakarta would be more profitable at a fare of Rp.2000 than at the planned Rp.2500 fare.

  • The initial fare will be Rp.2500, but the report concludes the system would be more profitable at Rp.2000 because it would attract a lot more passengers.

The 3-in-1 system is not required for smooth operation of TransJakarta

  • The 3-in-1 system is helping alleviate the temporary congestion caused by this phase of the system.
  • Though car-sharing (such as the 3-in-1 system), or congestion pricing like in Singapore, are good ways to reduce traffic congestion, the bus system itself will also reduce congestion once more buses are operational and the line is expanded.

“Though there will be traffic problems when the system first opens, and the buses and stations are too small to handle the passengers they could eventually get, these problems can all be easily resolved within the first year of operation,” said Dr. Walter Hook, ITDP Executive Director and chief author of the report.

“The Governor has been firm in his resolve to move boldly forward with the busway.  I hope that he – and all people who care to see Jakarta’s traffic problems solved – will move quickly to resolve these problems by expanding and improving the busway.”

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