The city's bus shelters will be overhauled to provide better comfort and safety for users. (Antara Photo/Rosa Panggabean)

APTB Buses Permitted to Stay in Busway

JANUARY 17, 2015

Jakarta. The Jakarta administration has backed down from plans to limit the operations of buses currently allowed to use the dedicated network of TransJakarta lanes, following a public outcry.

Under the Busway-Integrated Intercity Transport, or APTB, program, non-Trans-Jakarta operators serving outlying suburbs and satellite cities are allowed to use the bus-only lanes inside the city limits to avoid the chronic traffic congestion on the city streets.

However, City Hall says they have since become direct competitors to the TransJakarta fleet, with many commuters preferring to use APTB buses to get around the city without having to make the multiple connections that they would otherwise be obliged to make if using only TransJakarta buses.

The administration argued that APTB buses should only serve a handful of Trans-Jakarta stops on the outer edges of the network and stay out of the bus lanes inside the city.

But the plan has been criticized by the six companies that currently operate APTB buses, as well as by commuters and officials in the satellite cities of Bogor and Bekasi.

In a compromise, the city said on Friday that it would allow the APTB buses to continue operating in the TransJakarta lanes — but only under the direct management of the TransJakarta operator.

“We have agreed on three things,” Benjamin Bukit, the head of the city’s transportation office, said at City Hall after a meeting with the APTB operators.

“First, the APTB buses will still be allowed to enter TransJakarta bus lanes as they do today. But second, all APTB buses will be under PT TransJakarta’s command.”

This means the city-owned operator gets to decide on everything from fares to recruiting drivers to how the buses are maintained.

A third condition is that the current APTB operators will be paid a fixed rate based on distance by PT TransJakarta. At present, APTB operators and TransJakarta split their income from fares paid by commuters.

Benjamin said the plan would take effect on March 27.

“It will take time to adjust to the rules and operational procedures mandated by PT TransJakarta, which is why we are giving APTB operators time to adjust to the assimilation plan,” he said.

He added that the plan would allow APTB buses to have the same standardized services and management as TransJakarta buses, meaning there would be no tolerance for unruly drivers and substandard maintenance.

Pande Putu Yasa, the director of bus operator PPD, which operates APTB buses serving Bekasi, said the new agreement would require the company to “recalculate everything so that we don’t lose our initial investment.”