June 11, 2009

Busway’s Newest Corridor Popular Despite Heavy Congestion (Jakarta)

Passenger numbers on the three-month-old Transjakarta Corridor 8, linking Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to Grogol in West Jakarta, have increased during weekdays and weekends, despite criticisms the route was innefective.

“The number of passengers is growing. I think more and more people have made the most of this route during peak hours,” a Transjakarta officer Sudirman said Wednesday at Lebak Bulus Terminal.

“We usually have around 500 passengers *250 an hour* hopping on buses at this station during our first two hours of operation, from 5 a.m to 7 a.m. They are usually people going to work,” he said.

From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., the number drops to around 700 or 116 per hour. Most passengers using the bus during off peak hours don’t usually travel daily, he said.

From 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Lebak Bulus Terminal sees as many as 1,000 passengers, he added.

Bambang, another officer at the terminal, said there were also many people using this corridor on weekends, with the number hovering around 3,000.

The route has seen an increasing number of passengers because the operator expands the route to Harmoni in Central Jakarta at the weekend, he said.

On weekdays, the corridor stops at the Grogol shelter in West Jakarta. Passengers who want to go to Harmoni and surrounding areas have to transfer to Corridor 3 at Indosiar, Jelambar or Grogol 2 shelters.

“On Saturday and Sunday, we usually have a greater number of passengers after 9 a.m. Most of them are families going to recreational places such as Ancol and Ragunan,” he said.

People in South Jakarta and surrounding areas usually take the bus to go to Ancol in North Jakarta, while people in North Jakarta and surrounding areas use the bus to go to Ragunan in South Jakarta, he said.

“Although they have to transfer between corridors to reach recreational places, they prefer to use the Transjakarta bus than regular buses,” Bambang said.

According to Sudirman, the operator only serves the Lebak Bulus to Harmoni route on weekends to avoid too many passengers crowding the Harmoni shelter.

“We might serve the full route from Lebak Bulus to Harmoni once Corridor 9 *running from Pinang Ranti in East Jakarta to Pluit in North Jakarta* is open, so we can avoid having too many passengers in Harmoni.”

Corridor 8 has been criticized for being an ineffective and congested route, especially along the Pondok Indah road, where many other vehicles also enter the Transjakarta special lane and obstruct the passage of buses.

Elis, a passenger from Bintaro, also bemoaned the congested traffic on the arterial road during peak hours, thus extending her waiting time at the shelter.

“Actually, I save time riding on this bus, except in peak hours,” said the woman, who boarded from Lebak Bulus to go to Mangga Dua.

“Moreover, it takes me more time to transfer because I can’t go directly to Harmoni on my way to Mangga Dua.”

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Busway’s Newest Corridor Popular Despite Heavy Congestion (Jakarta)

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