March 24, 2009

Busway Corridor Runs Into Potholes in Jakarta

Major flaws have been revealed in the operations of the new TransJakarta busway route linking South Jakarta and West Jakarta, only a month after its opening.

A lack of traffic lights and the presence of road obstacles and private motor vehicles on the route have proven to be significant potholes impeding the smooth flow of buses along the corridor, according to a survey conducted by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Damantoro Tori, a transportation specialist from the institute, said that almost 40 percent of the route was affected by these “disturbances.”

If these disturbances were addressed, however, he said the average speed of the busway could be increased by 20 kilometers an hour.

The survey also revealed 27 trouble spots at various junctions along the 25.5 kilometer corridor, including at Pondok Indah Mall, Kebayoran Lama, Permata Hijau, Daan Mogot and Grogol.

Darmaningtyas, chairman of the Transportation Studies Institute, or Instran, said the busway lanes had to be cleared of private vehicles as soon as possible to decrease travel times and make the public bus more attractive for people to use. Instran also supported TransJakarta becoming an independent agency so that it could manage its network more professionally.

The ITDP survey was compiled in conjunction with TransJakarta management in order to improve its service.

According to Daryati Asrining Rini, head of operations at TransJakarta, the new busway route, which travels between Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta, and Tomang, West Jakarta, has already received good feedback from passengers.

“Ther e were 235,597 people who used this corridor since its opening,” she said, adding that the new routes gave a significant boost to the number of passengers using the bus service every day.

The total estimated return travel time between the Lebak Bulus and Indosiar stops is 1 hour and 50 minutes during off-peak times, and 2 hours and 30 minutes during rush hour.

It can accommodate up to 11,000 people per day during normal operating hours.

Rini said that due to TransJakarta’s improved performance over the past year, the city’s administration had cut its subsidies to the agency by 3.75 percent.

“The amount of the subsidies depends on the busway’s operational performance and TransJakarta income each year,” she said.

In 2008, she said TransJakarta transported 211 million passengers, with a turnover of Rp 248.43 billion ($21.61 million). With new routes opening this year, she has set a target of Rp 280 billion in ticket sales.

There was no information available on total profits or losses.

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