TransJakarta Urged to Cut Firm’s Contract
Lenny Tristia Tambun
The company operating two of the city’s TransJakarta busway corridors should be stripped of its contract because it has “sabotaged” services on the routes, a group advising the Jakarta administration on transportation issues says.
Jakarta Ekspress Trans, which operates Corridor I (running from Blok M to Kota) and Corridor X (from Cililitan to Tanjung Priok) recently said it could not afford to pay its drivers because its cash was low due to the payment of Idul Fitri bonuses.
The announcement prompted hundreds of bus drivers on the corridors to consider strike action.
Azas Tigor Nainggolan, the chairman of the Jakarta Transportation Committee, said TransJakarta should terminate JET’s contract, which is supposed to run until the end of 2013. TransJakarta earlier announced it would not extend JET’s contract for Corridor I, the network’s busiest, appointing state-owned bus company Damri as its replacement.
“I suspect that JET management is deliberately worsening TransJakarta services,” he said on Thursday. “JET is acting up because it didn’t win the tender for Corridor I in early 2012.”
Azas said that if JET continued to refuse to pay its drivers, TransJakarta could terminate cooperation with company, citing breach of contract.
JET operational director Payaman on Wednesday said the company was running out of money and had debts totalling Rp 12 billion ($1.25 million).
“Right now we can barely afford to pay employees’ bonuses. To pay [the bonuses] we had to reallocate August’s salaries. So now we don’t have any money to pay for August salary,” he said.
TransJakarta chairman M. Akbar said he had asked JET management to submit a proposal to finance the drivers’ salaries.
“We have prepared Rp 5 billion to pay JET for its August [salaries]. If only it had submitted its invoice today, this very day we would transfer the funds to it, but it hasn’t,” he said.
He added that JET had complained that it did not get paid adequately by TransJakarta, and requested a contract reevaluation. Akbar confirmed that Corridor I will be operated by Damri next year, although its proposed cost is more than double that of JET. Damri, he said, will charge Rp 19,000 per kilometer while the existing contract with JET is Rp 8,802 per kilometer.
But Damri, he added, will provide 66 articulated buses, which can carry twice as many people as the city-owned buses operated by JET.
JET official Payaman said there was nothing the company could do to stop drivers from going on strike.
“It is [the drivers’] right. Yes, services will be disrupted, but this is all in TransJakarta’s hands.”