Joko Intent on Discouraging Cars

By : Muhamad Al Azhari | on 8:38 AM December 18, 2013
Category : News, Jakarta

2013-12-10T210113Z_1950775479_GM1E9CB0CLW01_RTRMADP_3_INDONESIA-AUTOS-JAKARTA_preview Vehicles are seen stuck in a traffic jam during rush hour in Jakarta in this June 14, 2013 file photo. (Reuters Photo)

Jakarta will push for policies and efforts to discourage people from using private vehicles next year, Governor Joko Widodo said in an interview on Monday.

“The ERP [electronic road pricing] scheme will be implemented next year. A higher parking tariff will also be in place,” said Joko, who admitted he still disliked the central government’s so-called low-cost green car policy to make cars more affordable for the burgeoning middle class.

Joko did not specify a specific time frame for his new policies or how much it would cost car drivers or the city government.

Udar Pristono, the Jakarta Transportation Office head, said in October that the ERP scheme, in which a series of gantries set up along key thoroughfares will remotely charge motorists with a paired receiving device for entering certain downtown areas, would come into force in the first quarter of 2014. He said the ERP would also target motorcyclists, so there was no way to avoid the congestion charge.

Joko said that as part of its push for better public transportation, the city administration would procure up to 4,000 buses.

The governor said that procuring the city’s first batch of 700 buses cost more than Rp 1 trillion ($82 million); next year, the city has allocated around Rp 5 trillion to buy 3,300 more.

The budget covers the purchase of an additional 1,000 buses for the TransJakarta fleet and 3,000 medium-sized buses.

The Jakarta provincial budget — Indonesia’s largest — for next year is estimated to be Rp 67 trillion, up from this year’s revised Rp 50.1 trillion budget.

Joko also said that the bulk of spending would be dedicated to tackling traffic and flood problems.

“We are racing against time for those two problems [traffic and floods]. Things could get worse if we don’t act quickly. The two big transportation projects under my close watch are the Jakarta monorail and the MRT [mass rapid transit rail line],” he said, adding that he also planned to accelerate the development of flood management infrastructure.

The monorail is a $1.3 billion public-private partnership project. It was stalled for nearly six years before Joko revived the project shortly after taking office last year, with funding pledged from the Singapore-based investment company Ortus Holdings. The company has taken a near-90 percent stake in the monorail project.

The new elevated rail system will include two monorail lines: one linking downtown Jakarta with the city’s western area, running 14.3 kilometers; and another linking the eastern subdistrict of Kampung Melayu to Taman Anggrek in the west of the city, running 13.7 kilometers. Construction of the two lines is expected to be completed in four years.

In October this year, Joko initiated the first phase of construction of the city’s MRT line at Dukuh Atas in Central Jakarta. The long-awaited project will cost $1.5 billion and involve building a 15.7-kilometer railway line, part of it running on an elevated line and the rest underground, from Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta.

Joko is probably the most watched figure in Indonesian politics in the run-up to the 2014 elections, with his name topping several opinion polls of potential presidential candidates.

One of the latest is a poll by the United Data Center (PDB), which in October announced that 36 percent of those polled considered Joko their top candidate. Asked by the Jakarta Globe whether he has ambitions to become president, Joko only smiled and responded diplomatically.

“My main agenda right now is of course Jakarta. As you know, I have lots of work to do, lots of lists,” he said.

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