Commuters enjoy less travel time due to new busway rule
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta , Tue, 03/11/2008 1:38 AM
On the first day the busway returned exclusivity to its lanes, TransJakarta passengers enjoyed shorter commuting time while other motorists were caught in the city's usual traffic jams.
The administration on Monday restored its policy of banning other vehicles from busway lanes.
"It only took about 40 minutes from Ragunan to my office in Kuningan. When they allowed motorists to use busway lanes, it took about 90 minutes. If it rained, it could take about two hours," said a passenger, Ficky.
"For me, fast travel is the most important thing, comfort comes second. I don't mind standing on the bus, as long as it's fast," she said.
Another passenger, Retno, shared her opinion.
"I was quite surprised that it only took 15 minutes from Duren Tiga to Kuningan. It usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes," said Retno, who works at a telecommunications company.
She said the frequency has also improved; it took her less than five minutes to wait for a bus where previously it took about 30 minutes.
Last week, Governor Fauzi Bowo said the city administration would again ban all other motorists from using seven busway corridors because the lanes were originally designed only for busway buses.
The ruling is expected to increase the number of busway passengers, which has seen a 14 percent drop since last November when a policy allowing non-TransJakarta vehicles to use busway lanes was introduced.
The policy was implemented in response to motorists' complaints about worsening congestion, exacerbated by the construction of new corridors, as on Jl. S. Parman in West Jakarta and Jl. Metro Pondok Indah, South Jakarta.
Both Ficky and Retno hope the administration will maintain the implementation of busway lane exclusivity for the sake of passenger comfort.
"I also hope the administration will improve busway services, by adding more buses, for example," Ficky said.
Motorists see the issue differently.
Lia, who drives from her office in Mampang to her home in Taman Sari, Central Jakarta, said she had to find alternative roads to avoid the traffic jams yesterday.
"Traffic jams are nothing new for Mampang motorists, but today (Monday), the traffic was crazy. I even had to find another route to get home," said Lia.
To implement the new policy, an official at the Traffic Management Center (TMC), Briptu Purwanto, said police deployed about 2,500 officers, comprising 1,500 traffic police, 500 patrol officers and 500 subdistrict police.
The Jakarta Transportation Agency also deployed 616 officers.
Agency head Nurahman said his office would continue to deploy officials to apply the policy. "But we will decrease the number of personnel. We hope motorists understand they can not use the busway lanes." (trw)