The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, or ITDP, emphasized the importance of integrating the transport system in Jakarta and urged the government to continue operations of the Transjakarta corridor 1 when Mass Rapid Transit Jakarta opens for the public in 2019. (Antara Photo/Rosa Panggabean)

Basuki Calls on Central Government to Help Bear Cost of TransJakarta Operations

FEBRUARY 03, 2015

Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has invited the central government to invest in the city-owned operator of the TransJakarta bus network, in a bid by City Hall to offload some of the costs of the unprofitable venture.

“If the central government want to acquire shares [in TransJakarta], they can, as long as it’s professional,” Basuki said at City Hall on Tuesday. “It’s easy they can just buy the shares because it already operates as a company.”

He said it was important for the operator be assured of access to new, safe and comfortable buses — something the city administration cannot sustain on its own. The city said last month that the cost to subsidize the TransJakarta system in 2014 was more than Rp 830 billion ($65 million), a sharp increase from Rp 468 billion the previous year.

“If the central government want to manage it, through the Transportation Ministry, for example, they can subsidize much of the cost for the tickets. The Jakarta administration will then subsidize the rest, in a smaller amount, like we will do with MRT project,” Basuki said, referring to the mass rapid transit system, a subway line currently under construction.

Basuki suggested the city would let the central government take up to a 90 percent stake in the operator if it was willing to bear 90 percent of the ticket subsidy cost. However, he emphasized that the investment opportunity was only open if everything was done above board, meaning the central government would have to set up a new company to take part in the joint venture.

“It should be done through a company, not directly by the government. We know what it’s like if civil servants take over,” he said.