An electric bus begins road test from TransJakarta headquarters in Cawang, East Jakarta, on July 6, 2020. (Antara Photo/Galih Pradipta)

UK to Help Electrify TransJakarta Bus Fleet for Cleaner Air

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

MARCH 10, 2021

Jakarta. The United Kingdom has agreed to help the Jakarta government achieve its ambitious target of electrifying 10,000 TransJakarta's public buses by 2030 to help Indonesia's capital and the largest city to reduce its emission, the British Ambassador to Indonesia Owen Jenkins announced in an online conference on Tuesday.

The envoy noted transportation accounts for 36 percent of the total greenhouse gas emission in the capital. Buses are also the biggest greenhouse gas emitter within the sector — making bus electrification efforts more crucial. However, conversion to electric-powered vehicles can be challenging.

“From our experience in the UK, it requires a lot of planning and work for the market to be able to accommodate those electric bus solutions,” Jenkins told the conference.

Aware of its challenges, the country seeks to support TransJakarta ditch their diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles via the UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK PACT).

According to their official website, the UK PACT Green Recovery Challenge Fund will distribute £12 million (around $16.6 million) capacity-building funds over two years on projects to support low-carbon transitions in other countries.

Among the selected projects in the first funding round is Transjakarta electronic buses' upscaling, with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) as its implementation partner. Neither the website nor speakers, however, detailed how much fund is allocated for this 12-month project.

In this program, the UK PACT and the ITDP will team up with the Jakarta Transportation Agency and TransJakarta. "We will work with DKI Jakarta to build capacity and develop action plans for TransJakarta to reach their fleet electrification target," Jenkins said. 

UK's support for Jakarta's greener urban mobility goes beyond buses. On a separate 12-month project, the UK PACT and ITDP also target Jakarta's online motorcycle taxis to go electric. 

"Motorcycles are a major contributor to air pollution. [...] As ride-hailing vehicles now travel more daily kilometers than personal vehicles, we want to look at the potential of ride-hailing companies to electrify their fleet," Jenkins said.

To this end, both the UK PACT and ITDP will help ride-hailing firms and the Jakarta Transportation Agency develop an action plan.

“The transition to electric vehicles is part of the solution, but this requires work with the private sector to intensify and accelerate sales of zero-emission vehicles. For the government’s side, [it is important] to provide the right environmental policy framework for those vehicles to operate and thrive,” the ambassador said.

What About Other Cities?

While the UK PACT program is mainly Jakarta-focused, the Transportation Ministry ensures other regions will also see electric buses. Budi Setiyadi — the ministry's director-general for land transportation — revealed they are currently cooking up a 2021-2030 national e-mobility plan.

Since 2019, the ministry has been purchasing buses via the buy the service (BTS) scheme in several major cities across the archipelago. In this scheme, the government purchases public transportation services from an operator. Passengers can hop on the bus free of charge for the first year of its operation. This is part of their strategy to get more people to use public transport.

"But those BTS-purchased buses still run on internal combustion engines [or ICE]," Budi said.

This year, the ministry plans to add more buses via the BTS scheme in five other cities. As a pilot project, they will also set up electric bus corridors for soon-to-be-added Bandung and Surabaya. Bandung will get one bus corridor, whereas Surabaya will have two.

"Each corridor has a 15-minute headway and around 20 electric buses. We will start with at least 50 to 60 electric buses via the BTS scheme in 2021," Budi said.

Over time, the ministry will also swap the other ICE buses for electric ones.

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