Busway users have their say
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The Jakarta Post/Jakarta
While motorists point their fingers at the busway as the major cause of traffic jams, passengers still find the administration-sponsored mode of transportation their long-awaited savior.
During a discussion on the busway service, a group of its regular passengers and supporters from mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org said the mounting public protests had undermined the buses' main role as the best mass transportation mode in the city.
David Tjahjana, a regular passenger of Pulo Gadung-Dukuh Atas corridor, said he still found the service the most reliable form of transportation from his house in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, to his office in Central Jakarta.
"The administration only focuses on network expansion without paying attention to the service. This has made everything worse," he said.
David, who leaves his car at home to use the busway, said people should allow room for improvement for the Transjakarta operator before jumping to the conclusion the busway system was not suitable for the city.
Another mailing list member, Lita, said although she is a regular passenger of Blok M-Kota corridor, she still had to use the regular bus to get to her office in Tomang, West Jakarta, since the designated busway lane that passed the area, Harmoni-Kalideres corridor, was always crowded.
"Please add more buses in the corridor and build more corridors so I could become a true busway passenger," she said.
Lita, who lives in Cinere, South Jakarta, said she takes a regular bus to Blok M terminal, as there are no busway feeder buses near her house.
Suaratransjakarta currently has 817 members.
The busway network expansion has stripped road lanes on major thoroughfares and caused more traffic jams. Meanwhile, busway operator Transjakarta seems to have neglected its service.
Passengers are required to wait almost half an hour in a crowded shelter just to get on an overcrowded bus.
In light of mounting protests, the administration has allowed regular motorists to use the busway's exclusive lanes in 55 locations during rush hours as of last week.
Poor monitoring and coordination between police officers and the Transportation Agency, however, has seen regular motorists use the lanes in other locations and outside of peak hours.
Transjakarta infrastructure manager, Taufik Adiwianto, said regular motorists using the exclusive busway lanes and congestion at several traffic intersections were the two main causes of long waiting times (headway) in the busway shelters.
"Regular motorists were using the exclusive lanes long before the policy came into effect ... this is what saw us struggle to maintain an ideal headway (of less than 5 minutes)," he said.