Business as Usual for Public Transport Despite Calls for National Strike

The Jakarta administration is currently looking for ways to improve public transportation by clearing the city's streets of public minivans, better known as Mikrolets, whose notoriously undisciplined drivers often cause traffic jams while waiting for passengers. (Antara Photo/Andika Wahyu)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 1:48 PM November 19, 2014
Category : News, Featured

Public transportation operators may increase fare prices between Rp 1,000 to Rp 1,500 following the government's decision to cut fuel subsidies. (Antara Photo/Andika Wahyu) Public transportation operators may increase fare prices between Rp 1,000 to Rp 1,500 following the government's decision to cut fuel subsidies. (Antara Photo/Andika Wahyu)

Jakarta. Despite having been called upon by the National Road Transport Operators Association (Organda) to go on a strike to protest the government’s decision to increase the price of subsidized fuel on Tuesday, most drivers got behind the wheel as usual on Wednesday.

“I have asked Organda not to stage a demonstration because the city government will adjust the transportation fares,” said Bima Arya, mayor of Bogor, where the operation of public minivans, known locally as angkot, seemed unaffected by the new policy.

Bima also said that starting next week, all city administration staff would be prohibited from using private vehicles to get to the office.

“They must take the public transportation or ride their bikes. The same rule will apply to me,” Bima said.

Jakarta

In several areas of Jakarta and the neighboring area of Tangerang, in Banten province, public transportation reportedly was also operating normally.

Wanto, a public minivan driver, said he was unaware of the calls by Organda to go on strike, adding that he had simply increased his transportation fare by Rp 1,000 (8 cents) after President Joko Widodo announced the fuel subsidy cut on Monday evening.

“It is, indeed, a losing game. I will suffer losses if I do not increase the fare, but most passengers seem to understand,” Wanto said.

The price of subsidized gasoline was increased to Rp 8,500 per liter and that of subsidized diesel to Rp 7,500. The fuels previously sold for Rp 6,500 and Rp 5,500 per liter, respectively.

Bekasi

On the roads of the neighboring city of Bekasi, West Java, it was also business as usual on Wednesday.

“There has been an official statement from the management of Organda’s Bekasi chapter that they will not join the strike, despite instructions for a strike issued by Organda’s national committee,” Bekasi Transportation Agency chief Supandi Budiman said.

He added that the Bekasi administration has discussed the new transportation tariffs and has agreed that prices would be increased between Rp 1,000 to Rp 1,500 for each trip.

Organda chairwoman Eka Sari Lorena, who had previously called on the organization’s members to strike, argued that public transportation vehicles use 7 percent of the total 46 million kiloliters of subsidized fuel set aside by the government this year.

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