The MRT Is the Answer, Jakarta’s Youth Believe
Cinvy Anggriani, Marshall Benjamin & Vico Andriano Andreas
If Jakarta’s youths could have their way, the city’s planned subway line, slated to begin operating at the end of 2016, would be here now.
“Build the MRT!” says Jennie, 18. “We need it so that there are no longer traffic jams all over Jakarta, so that it can be a neater and more orderly city.”
Kevin Lanov, 18, is just as adamant that the mass rapid transit rail line will be the long-desired solution to the city’s traffic woes. “I believe that once we have the MRT, Jakarta will be a much better place. Not only will there be no congestion, but it will also be tidier,” he says.
“I think the MRT and the busway should be sufficient to end the congestion for good. Just as long as we have a form of public transportation that doesn’t take up road space, like the MRT, then we won’t have traffic jams.”
The MRT will comprise both elevated and underground sections. The existing TransJakarta busway, by contrast, requires an entire dedicated road lane along all of its corridors.
Kevin also stresses the need to fix the older, smoke-belching buses still plying the city’s streets. Public transportation vehicles, though accounting for just 3.2 percent of all the vehicles in the city, are responsible for 70 percent of all emissions, including from industrial sources.
“The government needs to ensure continued maintenance for buses, including fixing their engines and seats,” he says.
But Sasa, 19, says fixing up the buses will not make public transportation any more efficient, safe or comfortable as long as driver discipline remains poor.
“The bus drivers often fail to follow traffic rules. They drive as they please, which is what contributes to the traffic in Jakarta,” she says.
“It’s a mess,” agrees Sandra, 18. “They don’t stick to their lanes, they don’t obey the rules. Public transportation is meant to help ease traffic, not make it worse.”
Choppy, 20, says there also needs to be better discipline on the part of private motorists, who frequently drive in the busway lanes, thereby holding up the buses.
“The busway lanes are not supposed to be subject to traffic, but they still get clogged up, particularly near toll gates,” he says. “I believe what’s needed is to keep the lanes clear of other vehicles and add more buses to the fleet.”
For his part, Colin Sabatini, 20, would like to see the commuter trains improved. “I really want them to fix the air-conditioning to make it cooler,” he says of the Jakarta-Bogor trains. “When when it gets packed, it’s like a sauna.”
Elevated, integrated,interconnected: Is this where transportation in
Jakarta is headed? In this special five-day series, we look at
government plans and challenges ahead. Check out the rest of the series