July 02, 2008

Jakarta Busway System Could Save Rp 235 Billion in Subsidies

If private vehicle users switched to taking the busway, the administration could save hundreds of billions of rupiahs, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) estimates.

“On the assumption that private vehicles travel an average of 10 kilometers in an hour, Rp 235 billion (US$25.8 million) would be saved in fuel subsidies a year if private vehicle users switched to the busway,” ITDP national director Milatia Kusuma Mu’min said at a seminar Tuesday.

The seminar on economical efficiency prospects through improving public transportation services was held by the ITDP, the Indonesian Transportation Community and the University of Indonesia’s engineering faculty alumni association.

The Transjakarta busway routes are Blok M-Kota, Pulo Gadung-Harmoni, Kalideres-Harmoni, Pulo Gadung-Dukuh Atas, Ancol-Kampung Melayu, Ragunan-Kuningan, and Kampung Rambutan-Kampung Melayu.

Milatia said if the busway system utilized all 14 corridors, the government would save Rp 963 billion in fuel subsidies a year.

A fully functioning busway system can carry up to 900,000 passengers per day, while after the recent fuel price increases, the number of busway passengers has increased from 210,000 to around 225,000 a day.

ITDP data shows there were only 30,000 passengers a day in the busway’s first operational year in 2004.

According to the New York-based ITDP, bus services have evolved from an informal transit service to conventional bus services, then to basic busways and eventually full Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems.

“Jakarta’s busway system is currently seen as a basic busway. So, it still needs to be upgraded to be a fully functioning BRT system. There’s no instant solution,” she said.

Basic busway services are characterized by segregated or single corridor services, on-board fare collection, basic bus shelters and standard bus vehicles.

The fully functioning BRT refers to an integrated network of routes and corridors, enclosed and high-quality stations, pre-board fare collection, frequent and rapid services and the use of clean technology.

Looking toward a full BRT system, the Tranjakarta busway is expected to set up an integrated electronic fare collection system, integrated modes of public transport with excellent feeder services, as well as supporting policies through appropriate traffic demand management and transit oriented development.

“A good feeder service is not available yet,” Mila said.

She said it was important to start preparing for manual feeder services, like bicycle facilities, as well as motorized services.

Head of the logistics and transportation study center at Gadjah Mada University, Heru Sutomo, said although Corridor I has been a success, the construction of other corridors have been too fast and too ambitious, and have overshadowed the need for feeder services.

For the long term, bus and train stations must be developed in a more user friendly way, Heru said. The distance from stations to housing complexes, offices, shopping centers, social facilities should be shorter and they should provide easier access to other forms of public and private transportation and sidewalks.

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Busway System Could Save Rp 235 Billion in Subsidies

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