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Jakarta Without Macet

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By : Izzati Ismail – Singaporean

Jakartakita.Com: I came to Jakarta in 2008.  My first impression about Jakarta is the terrible traffic. Even  when I was in there,  I found difficult just to across road. Cars and motorcycles filled the road.

Unlike neighbouring countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, transportation remains a problem in Jakarta. Getting around the city is not easy; expats will experience the infamous Jakarta; macet.

Nowadays, The traffic congestion in Jakarta and several cities in Indonesia get worse than before. The volume of vehicles, which exceeds the capacity of available roads, is the main cause of traffic congestion.

Government needs to limit the ownership of vehicles to overcome the problem of increasing number of vehicles as the volume of vehicles is the main cause of traffic congestion. With the regulation to limit the ownership of vehicles, people would be expected to use public transportation.

I think the government doesn’t provide nice public transportation. The public transportation users in Jakarta feel unsafe due to criminal acts often occur inside the vehicles, moreover for women. The users also feel uncomfortable because the condition of public transportation vehicles is dirty, damaged due to over capacity, and sometimes too old.

Not only that, using public transportation also takes longer time and  not all areas are passed by public transportations. That is why people prefer to use their own vehicles instead of public transportation, so they can go anywhere and anytime they want safely, comfortably and quickly.
Most people prefer to own car even by credit. Most wealthy families own more than one car. So it’s not wondering there are cars on the road that only transport one person on each.

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The more day, the huge number of vehicles volume contributes the worsening the traffic in Jakarta and several cities, especially in peak hours (morning & afternoon). People need more hours to reach the office/school and need another more hour to get home. It makes people get frustrated.

Compare to my city in Singapore. Singapore has an excellent public transport system, which is fortunate because owning and driving a car is incredibly expensive here. You get hit with a triple barriers: paying for a Certificate of Entitlement (COE)  when you buy the car, paying again for  Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges as you drive and expensive charge for parking lot.

The Certificate of Entitlement (COE), instituted by the government of Singapore since May 1990, is a program designed to limit the ownership of car and hence the number of vehicles on the country’s roads. This is a bidding system that requires residents of Singapore to bid for the right to buy car/bus/motorcycle. With the number of certificates deliberately restricted, only them who afford  to buy the highest price on average who can get the certificate.

The certificate is only for 10 years, after 10 years the vehicle owner may renew for only another 5 years. Then after that the vehicle owner must register for scrapping or exporting to another country. This is the way how the Singapore government reduces pollution. The vehicle over 10-15 years can’t be on the road.

Even people afford to get the COE, they have to pass another barrier; Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) is an electronic system of road pricing. It uses a dedicated short-range radio communication system to deduct ERP charges from smart-cards inserted in the in-vehicle units of vehicles each time they pass a pricing point when the system is in operation. The operating hours of all ERP gantries are in peak hours of office hour. The ERP charges are not applicable on Sundays and all public holidays. That’s why most of vehicle owners in Singapore prefer to use their vehicle only on Sunday or public holiday than in work days.

Another barrier is the expensive charge for parking lot. Imagine if they work for 9 hours, how much they should pay for parking 2 S$ per hour?  It’s around 18 S$. That’s quite expensive.

And all is works here. When you come to Singapore, you’ll never see traffic as in Jakarta. I think Jakarta should try to apply the same regulation as in Singapore step by step. I’m sure it will encourage people in Jakarta to turn to public transportation as it will be accessible, safe, comfortable and affordable. Cooperation between the government and people is needed to solve the traffic problem.

For me Jakarta without ‘macet’  is a beautiful city which I would love to spend days. Let’s hope the next governor will do something to solve the traffic congestion.

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