Shirley Christie & Dion Bisara
In what should not come as a big surprise for its residents, a global survey has shown that Jakarta has the world’s worst transportation system in the eyes of users.
The capital ranked the lowest of 23 cities worldwide surveyed by global research firm Frost & Sullivan for its Journey Experience Index survey from September 2010 to February 2011.
Traffic congestion has long been a major complaint by companies in the city, as it hampers productivity and reduces competitiveness due to increased logistics costs.
The two cities rounding out the basement with the Big Durian were Seoul in South Korea and Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.
“Commuters in these three cities were mainly dissatisfied due to traffic congestion for individual transport and over-crowding in public transportation,” Vivek Vaidya, Frost & Sullivan’s vice president for automotive and transportation practice in Asia Pacific, said in a press statement.
The firm tracked the mobility of 27,600 commuters and inner-city residents all over the world. Jakarta scored an average of 30.5 points, compared to 36.5 for Seoul, 45.5 for Rio de Janeiro and 61 for the global benchmark.
Vaidya said that 73.5 percent of private commuters surveyed in Jakarta cited speed and traffic congestion as their main frustrations. He added that the research firm had surveyed 394 public commuters and 1,007 private commuters here.
“Congestion has made our employees less productive and efficient,” said Sofjan Wanandi, the chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo).
He added that workers had to spend considerable amounts of time and money just to get to work. “Our logistics costs are also high — 14 percent to 15 percent of our total costs,” he said.
The Jakarta administration has predicted total gridlock in the city by 2012 without drastic action, as the population grows and car sales soar by about 15 percent annually.
The consultancy’s Vaidya said that 87.5 percent of commuters relying on Jakarta’s public transportation were dissatisfied with their experience due to “overcrowding, [slow] speed and traffic congestion.”
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur ranked 14th, while Singapore was 18th.
Public and private transport users in Copenhagen (Denmark), Seattle (United States) and Sydney (Australia) felt the most satisfied with their daily commuting experience, according to the survey.
Copenhagen topped the index with an average score of 81.5 points in overall journey experience, due to its high usage of non-motorized transport such as bicycles and its integrated public transportation system.
Vaidya explained that a fourth of the Danish capital’s population either cycled or walked to reach their destinations, compared with the global average of less than 10 percent.
Copenhagen, which hosted the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in 2009, has an extensive and well-maintained cycling-lane network of 350 kilometer.
The research firm based its calculation on speed, cost of travel and overall comfort and experience. The findings of the survey were released last month.