February 10, 2014

Access for All: TransJakarta Improvements Maximize the Benefits of BRT

A rendering shows plans to redesign streets to improve NMT access to public transit in low income neighborhoods. Source: ITDP Indonesia
A rendering shows plans to redesign streets to improve NMT access to public transit in low income neighborhoods. Source: ITDP Indonesia

 

Ten years after the system first launched, TransJakarta continues to expand and improve its services for all of Jakarta’s citizens. Through new routes to high-income areas and plans for increased accessibility in low-income areas, TransJakarta aims to maximize the benefits of BRT by creating a system that meets the diverse needs of city residents.

Joko Widodo, the Governor of Jakarta, recently announced the opening of 20 new bus routes for TransJakarta, with a focus on routes that will reduce the number of cars on the city’s streets. The buses will connect some of the city’s older, more elite housing complexes with the BRT corridor, allowing Jakarta’s wealthier residents to easily access the full extent of the system’s network. The Governor was hopeful that this strategy would persuade middle-to-upper class workers to switch to public transportation, saying, “The buses are convenient. We expect residents to switch from private cars to TransJakarta buses.” Two of the new routes have already begun operation, with the goal of 20 routes focused on vehicle-reduction opening in the near future.

Encouraging wealthier residents to use BRT is an important part of reducing both congestion and emissions. For higher-income riders, BRT provides a comfortable, accessible, efficient system that save time and effort. The TransJakarta buses will reach higher-income residents near their homes, then enter the dedicated bus lanes to cut through Jakarta’s busy streets. This  maximizes the benefits of the system by making it easier to commute and more attractive to reduce the use of a personal vehicle.

Image 2: ITDP is working to improve access to public transit in low income neighborhoods Kampung Bali and Kebon Kacang. Source: ITDP Indonesia
Image 2: ITDP is working to improve access to public transit in low income neighborhoods Kampung Bali and Kebon Kacang. Source: ITDP Indonesia

At the same time, ITDP is helping TransJakarta reach out to lower-income residents. A new project exploring non-motorized transit (NMT) around TransJakarta stations will look at accessibility in low-income neighborhoods and recommend ways to improve the system’s reach in these areas. Currently, pedestrian and NMT access to stations in many neighborhoods is lacking, due to insufficient sidewalks or pedestrian pathways.

For example, ITDP Indonesia is looking at the low-income areas of Kampung Bali and Kebon Kacang in central Jakarta (Image 2, left). Although there are three BRT stations nearby along the busy Thamrin Street, the low-income housing is largely blocked off from those stations by luxury shopping malls, office towers and South Asia’s largest textile market (Tanah Abang). Insufficient pedestrian pathways force area residents to dangerously walk in the streets alongside cars and motorbikes, or take their own motorbike or paratransit taxi to public transit. ITDP Indonesia is developing plans (see rendering, above) for high-quality sidewalks, bike lanes, and improved signage to reduce the barriers low-income residents face in safely reaching public transit. The project, supported by the Ford Foundation, will continue in Jakarta, as well as many other ITDP cities, to link the city’s low-income areas to high-quality transit.

For lower- and middle-income users of public transit, BRT offers a low-cost, efficient way to increase mobility around the city. Reduced travel times can increase job opportunities, lower time spent in traffic, and have a significant impact on quality of life. By addressing the barriers low-income residents face in using public transit, such as accessibility and safety, the benefits of BRT can be realized by those for whom it can do the most good.

With 12 lines and 134 kilometers of dedicated lanes, TransJakarta is well poised to bring BRT’s benefits to riders from all backgrounds. Transjakarta is the backbone of public transportation in Jakarta, and system operators, as well as ITDP, are working to extend its reach to all city residents. Under the system’s new management by BUMD, the changes and improvements to routes and accessibility will be streamlined. ITDP continues to support TransJakarta as it improves its services for all of Jakarta’s residents.

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