Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fighting chaos with chaos

Home smoggy home: why Jakarta needs mass transit in the first place

Jakarta's various mass transit projects are supposed to tame the craziness on the streets, but sometimes the projects themselves appear just as chaotic.

This weekend the city opened four new busway lines. But instead of the full fleet of 216 buses, there will only be 32 for at least the first month, because the buses haven't been finished yet. And there's no electronic ticketing system, because the bidding process for that hasn't been finished yet.

If you want to complain, you'll have to wait, because there's no management company for the four lines; the tender for that isn't done yet either.

You'd almost think the governor is trying to kill this thing. But the busway is his pet project, one he's gone out on a limb for, so that hardly seems possible.

I don't get why they're bidding out the ticketing and management at this stage anyway. There are three lines open already; ultimately there are supposed to be 15. Wouldn't you want the same management and ticketing system for the whole thing?

Arguably, you could keep the system on its toes and keep getting the best deal by bidding out each phase. On the other hand, the bidding process is one of the biggest opportunities for corruption. Any thoughts from more seasoned Jakarta observers?


mr_john said...

I'm not a mass transit expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I have spoken to a few over the past few months and I've been assured that, in fact, busway systems are far cheaper and environmentally friendly than monorails/subways/etc. Of course, this only holds if they have proper feeder systems that can get people on to them, ticketing, etc. The challenge is always to get the upper-middle class (who own the most cars) out of their cars and onto the busway.

kopisusu2 said...

Oh, I like the busway. I just don't understand the way it's run. The number one great thing about the busway is it EXISTS - unlike the monorail and subway, which I'm not convinced ever will.

mr_john said...

I think you can be sure that the monorail will exist... There's a certain cabinet member who owns a huge amount of real estate along H.R. Rasuna Said, and a certain very, very senior politician/businessman whose company has a significant financial stake in the monorail...

Come hell or high water, we'll get a monorail...

kopisusu2 said...

High water, at the moment.

Too bad they won't finish it this year ... it's going to be pretty convenient to our building.