Basuki Targets Wider Motorcycle Ban in Jakarta


JANUARY 09, 2015

Jakarta. The Jakarta administration will press ahead with a plan to expand a controversial ban on motorcycles driving on the city’s main thoroughfares, despite objections from motorcyclists and city councilors.

Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said on Friday that the trial ban in place on Jalan M.H. Thamrin and Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat since Dec. 17 had proved effective in easing traffic congestion in those areas, although the initial aim was to reduce the number of road accidents and get motorcyclists to switch to public transportation.

The ban is only scheduled to run until Jan. 17, but Basuki said he wanted to keep it in place and even expand it to streets that also have dedicated TransJakarta bus lanes.

“Perhaps we will focus on Corridor I first,” he said referring to the TransJakarta line running from Blok M in South Jakarta to Kota in West Jakarta, and passes through the entire lengths of the main thoroughfares of Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin.

Basuki said he would announce the final decision on the Jan. 17, but reiterated that any expansion would be limited to streets served by the TransJakarta network.

The network, whose buses run in dedicated lanes from which other vehicles are prohibited, currently comprises 12 corridors, or routes, with another five in the planning.

“We want to stop motorcycle use on roads with proper busway service,” Basuki said. “Having 100 motorcyclists in a single vehicle [a TransJakarta bus] is better than having 100 motorcycles clogging the road.”

He added, though, that not all roads served by the bus network would have such motorcycle prohibitions in place.

“We will focus on major streets that have [adequate TransJakarta] services,” he said.

The current ban has required some 1,700 officers from the Jakarta Police and the city’s public order agency, or Satpol PP, to implement. It is not clear where the city will find sufficient manpower for an expanded ban.

Muhammad Sanusi, a city councilor with the opposition Great Indonesia Movement Party, or Gerindra, criticized any plan to expand a ban that he said had failed to achieve its stated purpose: reducing motorcycle-related accidents.

“Our mass transportation system is less than sufficient” to handle the increase in commuters should the motorcycle ban be expanded, he said. “Besides, the park-and-ride scheme to accommodate motorcyclists has been ineffective. Address these issues first, then you can impose the motorcycle restriction.”

On Thursday, hundreds of motorcycle taxi drivers staged a rally outside the City Council to protest the ban.