Why Jakarta Has to Play Nice With Its Neighbors to Clear Its Clogged Streets

By webadmin on 04:26 pm May 05, 2012
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Ulma Haryanto & Anita Rachman

The World Bank was among the first global institutions involved in helping develop a plan for Jakarta’s transportation system, and has carried out several studies on the issue.

Mustapha Benmaamar has worked for the institution since 2004 as a senior transportation specialist, where he assesses the allocation of resources within the sector as well as the design, construction and maintenance of roads. The Jakarta Globe met with him recently to discuss transportation in Greater Jakarta.

How do you see the current transportation system in Jakarta?

When we talk about Jakarta, it’s not just DKI [Jakarta province], it’s Jabodetabek [Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi]. So you have five regions involved. You have many transportation service operators. You have the police, the urban development, the regulations, you have many modes of transport, including walking, that are currently not coordinated and integrated.

We have 130 kilometers of busway, and although it’s the longest one in the world, it’s only operating at 25 percent of its designed capacity. The corridors are not really integrated with one another, let alone with other modes of transport.

What do you think about the proposed Jabodetabek Transportation Authority?

That was one of our recommendations in 2010 during a presentation at Bappenas [the National Development Planning Agency], and if you look at many cities that succeeded in their public transport systems, they have this coordinating body. But it’s very difficult to put in place and it takes time to establish.

If you go to the governor of Jakarta at the moment and talk about the Jabodetabek Transportation Authority, he would be a bit resistant because to him, it goes against regional autonomy.

Meanwhile, the traffic problem in Jakarta has a wider implication. Jabodetabek generates 20 percent of Indonesia’s gross domestic product, nearly a quarter of Indonesia’s total. That makes it a national issue.

How should the coordinating body operate?

Ideally, it should be an independent body, but it can be governmental. It has to be very strong, powerful and authoritative.

If you look at DKI, transportation levies account for 50 percent of the city’s revenue because most of Indonesia’s cars are here. But this money goes to the general budget, and is not invested specifically in transport.

So DKI and the other regions around need to come up with a sharing mechanism to use this money, because ideally, the money should be plowed back to improve the public transport system.

At the moment, the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs is tasked to come up with a draft of the organization and the legislation.

This is where the World Bank can help. We can bring international experience because I do understand [Governor] Fauzi Bowo’s reaction that this undermines regional autonomy, but we could say that there are cities in other countries that have put it in place.

Maybe we could invite [representatives] and learn from them how these cities went down this path.

Elevated, integrated,interconnected: Is this where transportation in
Jakarta is headed? In this special five-day series, we look at
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