17 Way To Reduce Traffic Jam

Jakarta officials are preparing a slew of measures to ease the traffic crisis that is costing the city an estimated Rp 12.8 trillion ($1.42 billion) a year.

"We need very serious action or Jakarta will see total gridlock by 2012 ," vice presidential spokes-man Yopie Hidayat said after a meeting to discuss the problem on Thursday.

The meeting, chaired by Vice President Boediono and attended by ministers, governors, senior officials and the city's traffic police, considered efforts to improve traffic flow in and around the capital.

Citing research by the Presidential Working Unit for Development Supervision and Control (UKP4), Yopie said the high cost of traffic jams included the extra cost of running cars, increased health problems and productivity lost while stuck in traffic.

He said Boediono had appoint-ed UKP4 head Kuntoro Mangun-subroto to coordinate the government's efforts.

The meeting came up with 17 ways to solve traffic problems in the short, middle and long term, and they involve the transportation and public works ministries as well as the governors of Jakarta, Banten and West Java.

Ideas include speeding up the introduction of an electronic road pricing system for the main south-north artery, clearing TransJakarta bus lanes and opening more of them, reviewing parking by laws and improving railways.

The government will also offer incentives to phase out minivans in favor of larger buses, crack down on illegal buses and forge ahead with Mass Rapid Transport and monorail development.

Select public transportation will get access to cheaper fuel and a Greater Jakarta Transportation Authority is to be established.

Governor Fauzi Bowo said that although the government could not restrict the growth in the number of vehicles on the roads it could limit their use.

He cited restrictions for pri¬vate vehicles and limiting trucks and vans to evening deliveries.

Regarding the ERP system, Fauzi said authorities were still studying whether to use a satel-lite-based GPS system or the gate system.

In the short term, police have closed Plaza Semanggi's vehicle entrance on Jalan Gatot Subroto and a nearby city toll entrance.

The city has already closed several U-turns that clog traffic and more closures are expected.

Danang Parikesit, the chairman of the Indonesian Transport Society (MTI), said the crisis demanded radical action. He said if the congestion were not taken seriously, traffic could be crawling along at five kilometers per hour within five years.

According to Yopie, the average speed is now 8.3 kph.

Danang said transportation in the Greater Jakarta area must be integrated and the central government must allocate enough funds to ensure the systemworked.

He said 4.5 million people commuted to the city daily, 2.5 million in private vehicles.

17 point plan to cut the jams are:

1. Electronic Road Pricing scheme to be fast-tracked.
2. Crackdown on vehicles using TransJakarta busway lanes.
3. Jakarta administration to review parking bylaw.
4. Road repair fund based on multiyear contract.
5. Two more busway corridors to open this year and two in 2011.
6. More gas stations to offer subsidized fuel for TransJakarta buses.
7. Drive to reduce number of road-clogging mikrolet vans. Government to urge use of bigger buses with more capacity.
8. Trains rerouted and more services and cars added to move three million commuters daily.
9. Police to crack down on illegal buses.
10. Renewed pledge to start building MRT stage one from Lebak Bulus to Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in 2011, for monorail building to restart and Manggarai-Cengkareng railway development to be fast-tracked.
11. Greater Jakarta transportation authority to be estabilished.
12 Marter plan for Greater Jakarta integrated public transportation system to be revised.
13. Rail line to Cikarang to be made a double track.
14. Faster inner-city rail project to be integrated with Jakarta's Transportation system.
15. Six new inner-city toll road to be built.
16. Government to issue policies aimed at healting grouth in vehicle use.
17. Park and ride side to be built near the train stations to cut private vehicle use. home affairs minister urge governors of Jakarta, Banten and West Java to coordinate.

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