February 27, 2008

Busway consortium inefficient: NGOs

The Jakarta governor says his administration is still studying whether a counterflow system along busway lanes could reduce the city’s traffic. “We will evaluate the counterflow policy but I want everything to be coordinated. All lanes should be guarded, if necessary,” Governor Fauzi Bowo said Monday morning.

The counterflow proposal, which would allow the busway to operate in reverse direction, was suggested by busway operator TransJakarta to decrease the headway in Corridor VI (Lebak Bulus-Kuningan) some 40 minutes from the current 80 to 90 minutes.

Corridor VI suffers from congestion because many private cars use the lane. By implementing a counterflow system, private cars drivers are expected to be reluctant to use busway lanes.

Over the weekend, a group of NGOs said in a press conference that up to Rp 130 billion could be saved annually from the busway’s operational costs if the operators’ consortium were to accept a recent tender.

A tender for corridors IV to VII completed at the end of December last year resulted in an operational cost of between Rp 9,300 (about US$1) and Rp 9,500 per kilometer, down from the current level of Rp 12,885 (about $1.40) paid to the consortium.

“All this time the existing consortium has created an inefficiency, 25 to 30 percent in its operational cost per kilometer,” Budi Kuncoro from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) said in the press conference with the Institute of Transportation Study (INSTRAN), the Jakarta Residents Forum (FAKTA) and operator Transjakarta on Saturday.

The current end-user tariff of Rp 3,500 results in Rp 240 billion annually. The government must add a subsidy of some Rp 500 billion more.

“Without the administration’s subsidy, the consortium would set a price of some Rp 10,500 per ticket. Who would be able to afford that?” Budi said.

The consortium, consisting of transportation companies PPD, Mayasari Bakti, Steady Safe and Bianglala, which since January 2007 has been operating 60 percent of busway fleets from corridors IV to VII, has not accepted the new tariff tender.

“Our evaluation and negotiation team still faces a discussion deadlock with the consortium,” said head of Transjakarta Dradjad Adhyaksa.

The consortium has not received payment since January because it rejected the new tariff supported by Transjakarta.

“I have the authority to decide, but it’s a tough decision and very problematic,” said Dradjad.

He said he was currently waiting for the governor’s counsel.

“For the sake of the efficiency of the public money, of course I prefer to use the lower bid. But if they (the consortium) choose to have a strike later, what could I do?

“This is all a money issue,” Dradjad said.

Annual Costs Consortium Tender Result
Investment Cost Rp 414 million/unit Rp 255 million/unit
Maintenance Cost Rp 464 million/unit Rp 462 million/unit
Overhead Cost Rp 200 million/unit Rp 85 million/unit

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