Life Is A Gas
Every cloud supposedly has a silver lining. Scientists probably account for this by pointing out that actually it's an oily sheen caused by all the pollution being pumped into the atmosphere.
As an unashamed optimist I firmly believe that it's a good thing that lifestyle adjustments are finally not only necessary but feasible for the mainly emergent middle classes because fuel prices have risen out of their reach.
I've come across a few indicators of these lifestyle adjustments, but first, if you must guzzle gas read the following I got from a fellow Addick
Only buy or fill up your car, truck or motorcycle in the early morning or at night when the ground temperature is still cool.Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline. When it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the heat of the day your liter is not exactly a liter and a 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business.2.
Fill up when your gas tank is half full or half empty.The reason for this is that the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space and gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine.
But why use private transport when you can go public? No, don't bother answering that if you live in Jakarta, but remember that optimists live in the future.
A newly met friend, André Vtlchek, is an analyst of the ills of Asiana
, including Indonesia and Jakarta in particular, where he maintains a home. He says
, Jakarta has fallen decades behind capitals in the neighboring countries - in aesthetics, housing, urban planning, standard of living, quality of life, health, education, culture, transportation, food quality and hygiene.
Comparative statistics have to be transparent and widely available. Citizens have to learn how to ask questions again, and how to demand answers and accountability. Only if they understand to what depths their city has sunk can there be any hope of change.
My good friend, The Rev, recently asked me if I could tell him how many motorcycles there are in Jakarta. I couldn't help him.
(He'd managed to wipe out an ojek
, one of the motorcycle taxis which clog up the sidewalks and other supposedly public areas.)
However, I have managed to glean a few vehicle stats, mainly from the Post
.2% of transport carries 40% of the population.
I know I've recently quoted this one
, but there are complexities in its seeming simplicity. For example, if the number of buses and trains were doubled, would nigh on 80% of the population be carried by 4% of the transport?
Reports from Tangerang
, a township to the south-east of Jakarta, show a 25 percent increase in sales of commuter train tickets to the capital since the government cut the fuel subsidy, suggesting many Tangerang residents who usually drive cars or ride motorcycles to Jakarta are taking the train.
Mind you, Kereta Api Indonesia
(Indonesia Trains) "does not have any plans to increase the frequency of commuter trains despite the increase in passenger numbers.
Bloody typical, but a 25% increase in ticket sales may represent a low number of passengers.
Debnath Guharoy, of Roy Morgan Associates, has a regular column in the business section of the Post. He offers some statistics about holiday travel
For example, sixty-five percent of travelers use buses, making it the most popular form of transportation, even during holidays. A further 20 percent hop on their family motorbike for vacation. Another 7 percent travel during holidays by cars owned within the family or by friends, while a mere 2 percent take the boat or ferry.
The numbers, updated every 90 days, are estimated to reflect almost 90 percent of the population over the age of 14, representing a total of 140 million people.
From that it's possible to deduce that approximately 70 million Indonesians are below the age of 14. Presumably they also use the same transport.
The key figure here is the mere 7 percent who use private cars. If there is an average of four people per car that's only c.250,000 cars, whereas 1,400,000 motorcycles are used, assuming two are carried.
Maybe the missing 6% don't take holidays, although I'd have thought the proportion would be much higher.
But there is the matter of what constitutes a holiday in this country. Phil King writes in Inside Indonesia
about the multifarious local festivals in the country which, for most folk, are more important than the official red calendar days.
For example, consider the recent National Awakening Day
.You need to be an early riser to catch an Indonesian official public holiday ritual. 6:30am was not early enough to catch the brief Awakening ceremony held by the Pacitan Surf Club as the precursor to the third annual Hidden Point Surfing Competition in SBY’s hometown of Pacitan. The ceremony was clearly not as important as the serious business of surfing. To my mind, the surfing displayed all the essential elements of the Awakening message.
SBY had used the nation’s airwaves on Tuesday afternoon to tell us all that Indonesia was a ‘bangsa yang bisa!’ (a nation that can!). His local Pacitan surfing community was doing it.