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Jakarta's New Busway: Not Just Another Song and Dance
from The Bulletin of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), Feb 2004

To address the city's mounting congestion and air pollution problems, Jakarta opened Asia's first fully closed, Bogotá-style Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor on January 15. The 12.9km exclusive busway connects the city's Blok M Bus Station to the Kota Railway station, running along one of Jakarta's most congested thoroughfares. Crowds of riders lined up to take advantage of free trips on the buses, some coming from cities hours away to experience the new system. Fare collection began on February 1.

The first phase of the TransJakarta BRT system ' which the city hopes will eventually grow to 15 corridors ' features air-conditioned buses and new stations with pre-paid fares. LED displays and voice recordings alert passengers to upcoming stops.

Even as the free trial period drew to a close, Jakarta's management team was still making crucial decisions about how its system would run and fixing technical and staffing problems that arose during the trial period.

Seventeen feeder routes were put into place, though they are using the city's existing buses marked with a sticker that is difficult to distinguish from those adorning normal buses. On Monday, a national holiday in Indonesia, many feeder bus drivers would not accept the tickets, either because they hadn't heard about the system or because they were afraid they would not be reiumbursed for the fare.

Despite the hurdles, City Governor Sutiyoso has made the busway a large focus of his administration, overcoming skepticism and technical challenges to open what could prove to be a groundbreaking project.

The city has also been very receptive to making improvements. After bus drivers complained of a lack of restrooms, for example, facilities were provided at main bus stations.


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ITDP - Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

Secretariat: The World Bank & Asian Development Bank