Got Dem Ol' Busway Blues
My good friend, The Reveller
doesn't seem to be having so much fun these days. You see, he works in Pondok Indah where the newly arrived residents are complaining that the Busway being routed through their hallowed streets is going to affect their property prices. You know what I think about their "fuck you, I'm better than you" attitude
, but the Rev's problem is that he has the devil's own job getting in and out of this poncy neighbourhood. It's the traffic jams, you see.
So his solution is to buy a car. Go figure. Of course, if there were adequate pavements for pedestrians he could walk in and out, but this is Jakarta where you have to drive to shopping malls if you want a healthy stroll.
Apparently there will be three more Busway Corridors open before the end of the year: Harmoni in Central Jakarta to Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta, passing through the aforementioned Pondok Indah, Pinang Ranti in East Jakarta to Pluit in North Jakarta and Cililitan in South Jakarta to Tanjung Priok, the port in North Jakarta.
What is intriguing me is that work has started on building a special Busway lane which doesn't seem to be on any of the three routes mentioned. This is in Jl. MT Haryono, which runs parallel to the Bogor toll road, and is very close to Jakartass Towers.
Now, as you know, I'm not a complainer. I'm a mild-mannered easy-going kind of guy with an inquiring mind and what I want to know is - what the hell is going on? Why weren't we informed? But need we be? Aren't the elected local government and the not-so-polite civil servants (paid for, presumably, from public taxes) supposed to render these public roads for the optimum public use?
It is the seeming self-serving incompetence within City Hall, and the minimal transparency and communication out, which we've witnessed in these past ten years that leads to protests. We all know that major projects such as the Busway enrich the few. Maintenance of the corridors and associated infrastructure has been non-existent, leaving potential death traps in the access bridges, unnecessary gaps between the buses and the shelters where we get on or off, and not enough buses to meet public needs. Yet, the Busway is a popular, well-used form of public transport. That only 7% of the passengers have given up commuting by car is a shame; this statistic merely indicates that users have given up using the ancient carbon monoxide belching behemoths.
Jakarta is an enormous city and having an express bus service from the major hub that is Cawang, where the Bogor toll road links up with the ring road, or the bus terminal at Kampung Rambutan, makes absolute sense, assuming that commuting motorists have somewhere to abandon their cars for the day. And if this new Busway route goes somewhere useful, such as Grogol in West Jakarta, a route already well served by diesel-driven exhaust belching rattlers, then I'm all in favour.
Especially if it links up with the corridor into Pondok Indah. I've got friends living there who I haven't seen for years. They're trapped by the gridlock.
Labels: Jakarta, social psychology, transport