March 08, 2008

Govt gives TransJakarta exclusive lanes (again)

After months of review, the Jakarta administration will return the busway lanes exclusively to TransJakarta buses beginning Monday.

Governor Fauzi Bowo said Thursday the administration would ban all other motorists from using the seven busway corridors.

“Motorists will not be allowed to use busway lanes because the lanes were originally designed only for busway buses,” he said at City Hall.

The ruling is expected to please busway passengers, who have seen a drop in service since the introduction of the mixed-traffic arrangement, a policy that allowed regular motorists to use busway lanes, about five months ago.

The administration and the Jakarta Police agreed in November to introduce the mixed-traffic arrangement during peak travel hours on several busway corridors.
The policy was rolled out in response to complaints from road users on worsening congestion in the city.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono even joined the protests, urging the governor to open the busway lanes to motorists to help ease traffic congestion.

Lack of monitoring, however, turned what was to be a limited opening of some busway lanes into a basic free-for-all, with cars taking over almost every busway corridor, resulting in longer busway travel times and frequent delays on most corridors.

The number of busway passengers has plunged 14 percent to about 180,000 people a day since the mixed-traffic arrangement was implemented.

However, Jakarta Police support the mixed-traffic arrangement, which they see as necessary for dealing with traffic congestion.

Last week, the police’s traffic director, Sr. Comr. Djoko Susilo, said the police preferred that motorists be allowed to use busway lanes.

“The law on traffic and public transportation gives the police discretion to give out tickets and manage the traffic based on actual circumstances,” he said during a meeting between the police and the City Council last Friday.

“So, we automatically discard the administration’s traffic ordinance that rules on busway lanes’ exclusivity because, legally, the law is higher than the ordinance.”

In preparation for Monday’s policy change, public order officers have since Thursday been deployed at busway corridors to guide regular motorists out of the lanes.

The officers are stationed at main points along the corridors, including intersections on Jl. Mampang Prapatan, South Jakarta.

They are using portable metal fences to prevent drivers from entering the lanes.

Public order officers are monitoring parts of Corridor 6 linking Ragunan, South Jakarta, to Kuningan, Central Jakarta, as well as four spots along Corridor 5, which links Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta to Ancol in North Jakarta, on Jl. Jatinegara Timur, East Jakarta

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