Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Optimism and Pessimism of Busway

Jakarta is building corridors IV-VII of dedicated bus lanes ("busway"). Many people complain about traffic jams that the process is causing. "Stupid busways!" they say. I, on the other hand, think congestion is a natural, temporary, side-effect of busway development. Like having your house renovated: of course it's a hassle. But after a while, it will be a nicer place to live.

Darmaningtyas of the Indonesian Transportation Society said that congestion will subside if busways can attract people to leave their cars. And this is probable: 77.2% are in favor of busways, with certain conditions:
Berdasarkan riset INSTRAN (2005) kepada 304 pemakai mobil pribadi, responden itu siap meninggalkan kendaraan pribadi dan pindah ke busway dengan syarat: jalur yang mereka lalui ada busway (44,8 persen), busway memberi kenyamanan (24,1 persen), dan kemacetan terus terjadi di jalur yang mereka lalui (19 persen). Oleh sebab itu, 77,2 persen dari 304 responden mengharapkan agar jalur yang mereka lalui dibangun busway.
Sayang, hasil riset ITDP-INSTRAN (2006) menunjukkan bahwa ketidaknyamanan dalam busway salah satunya karena berdesak-desakan merupakan aspek terburuk dari pelayanan busway Koridor I-III.
Darmaningtyas thus proposes more buses, better management, and feeder vehicles. I would add secure parking space at the end of busway routes for people driving from the suburbs, but take the busway into/out of the city.

An interesting factor that needs to be taken into account is what we forego by having a better transportation system: i.e., the jobs of drivers and keneks of at least 550 Mikrolet (minibus) units!
Yang pasti sekitar 550 unit lebih Mikrolet 01 (Kampung Melayu-Senen) akan hilang karena jalurnya l00 persen beririsan dengan busway Koridor V (Kampung Melayu-Ancol)... Angkutan umum lain yang beririsan dengan busway Koridor IV, VI, dan VII juga akan mengalami nasib yang sama (hilang)...
Based on queries I made to 5 Jakarta taxi drivers so far, it's clear that their income is decreasing since Busways started (current income is 20% to 60% of previous income).

So what will bus drivers, taxi driver, and keneks become now? Go figure.

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  1. Nge, IMO it's not clear the correlation between busway and taxi drivers income. Expensive rates due to high fuel price comes to mind to explains why people are not using taxi anymore, hence decrease in taxi drivers income.

    Regarding the busway, like it or not, mass transporation is the way to go in the future specially in the new metropolitan cities (like Jakarta and Bangkok) and sacrifices need to be made. It's not a question of why, but when. Better now than later.

  2. yang pasti sopir2 itu gak jadi tukang temer, soalnya angkot/metromininya udah gak ada..

    tapi... gak semua orang butuh busway, karena ada beberapa orang yang menggunakan mobil pribadi sesekali, sisanya diparkir dirumah..

    pernah ada yang ngitung ga? biaya ngebangun busway berkoridor koridor (Serta operasionalnya),
    dibandingkan dengan biaya mentertibkan angkutan umum yang udah ada, untuk dibikin mirip angkutan umum (misalnya di singapur) yang bisa berhenti tepat lokasi, dan berjadwal
    --mahalan mana.?

  3. Enda,
    you got a point. A proper research needs to be conducted to see the impacts of busways (including on taxi drivers & regular bus drivers' income). I'd guess it's quite substantial. And I agree that mass transportation is the way to go. Streets are "the commons". And if we don't manage it well, there will be a tragedy of the commons. This phrase shows how NOT everything can be handled by market approach. At some points, there should be "intervention", which can be in the form of regulations, or incentives and disincentives.

    Gue belom tahu tuh udah ada yang ngitung itu apa belom. Kembali ke topik the commons di atas, secara prinsip memang harus ada disincentive utk penggunaan mobil pribadi dan incentive utk gunakan kendaraan umum, karena jalan selalu terbatas. Ini terjadi di banyak negara maju. Misalnya di London, mobil pribadi boleh masuk ke pusat kota, tapi harus bayar mahal. Akibatnya orang mikir: perlu gak ya gw naik mobil pribadi.

    Sekilas gw juga lihat pembangunan busway sekarang, apa iya butuh biaya sebesar itu ya (misalnya alas beton di jalannya kok tebel banget ya, terus apa iya di sepanjang jalan perlu dikasih alas beton)?

  4. My biggest concern about the busway (and the upcoming monorail) is operator monopoly.

    As a regular user, I've seen declining quality of buses, terminals, bridges, and frequency -- and I'm only talking about the (better) Blok M-Kota route.

    Unless properly regulated (or operator competition is created), I'm afraid that within the next ten years the system will degrade into another PJKA, where the armada, lanes, and infrastructure are all in bad shapes, yet the company is "in the red" and nobody can push these operators to improve their services.

  5. hey muli,

    what up sahabat? ahh, yes, the Jakarta Busway. what fond memories of diving into the nice air-conditioned environment, and leaving the traffic behind. oh, and not to forget, listening to bon jovi rock it out on the plasma screens at the busway stations!

    well, "new" metropolitan city or not, i even think the busway would work in a supposedly "modern" metropolis of Los Angeles. it would be nice to see the Latino's riding the busway through beverly hills, looking down on the disgruntled, posh mercedez benz hollywood-type drivers!

  6. Hi Arya,
    Good and very valid point. If your concern becomes true, then it's almost back to square one, isn't it?

    Hey Yoh, shinyuu!
    I'm so happy you still remember our trips on the busway, and listening to a cool soundtrack of one moment in our lives. Yes, I wonder what Angelenos would think of having a busway pass through Wilshire, Sunset, into Beverly Hills and such.

  7. I definitely don't care about what's going to happend to the mikrolet and or metro mini's driver. They had their part in society...

  8. I just wish something constructive was being done to bring people into and out of the city, the busway is fine for those travelling inside Central Jakarta, but the traffic jams continue on the periphery. When will we get a park and ride system for instance, which will encourage people to leave their cars outside the city. I wouldn't worry about the taxis, even in a city such as Singapore, which has a wonderfully intergrated transit system the taxis are still in significant demand.