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Observers urge better busway setup
Evi Mariani and Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post (16 Jul 2004)

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Transportation observers have deemed the service of the six-month-old busway has improved, but urged the administration to provide the expected supporting infrastructure to maintain good services.

"The busway service should implement a feeder system and comfortable pedestrian facilities," said Andi Rahmah of the Pelangi Foundation in an evaluation of the busway since its launch on Jan. 15.

Rahmah said inadequate pedestrian facilities to and from busway stops had discouraged some potential passengers.

"Train passengers who alight at the elevated Sudirman station in Central Jakarta opt for other public transportation, like minibuses, rather than the busway because no proper sidewalk connects the railway station to the Tosari or Dukuh Atas busway stops," she told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

However, Rahmah lauded busway operator Transjakarta for its continued efforts in improving services.

"I have observed that Transjakarta responds quickly to complaints received via its hotline," she said.

Six months into its operation, the Transjakarta busway has recorded an average 46,000 passengers a day, exceeding its estimated target of 20,000 passengers.

The latest data from the city transportation agency shows that 60,000 people commute between Blok M, South Jakarta, and Kota, West Jakarta, along the busway's first line.

"Calculations show that Transjakarta has reaped Rp 3.49 billion (US$392,134) in net profit in 160 days. This has proven that public transportation can be a profitable business that does not necessarily require a government subsidy," Rahmah said.

Ernst & Young (E&Y), which consulted the administration on the busway, earlier reported that Transjakarta could fully cover its daily operation cost of Rp 6,500 per kilometer if it could attract an average of 37,565 passengers per day.

Another observer's report showed the number of passengers had grown by 27 percent from 1.15 million people in February -- its first month of operation -- to 1.47 million passengers in June.

Pelangi executive director Kuki Soejachmoen added the busway had the potential to be a gold mine for the capital.

For the busway to help reduce air pollution, Rahmah said buses along the planned east-west lines connecting Pulogadung-Monas-Kalideres should utilize environmentally friendly fuel, such as compressed natural gas.

Meanwhile, head of TransJakarta operations Sr. Comr. Rene Nunumete said on Thursday the management would resume the deployment of public order officers in response to reports of pickpockets, who are targeting passengers on buses when guards are not aboard.

"We will deploy officers posing as passengers on each bus," he said.

The busway runs daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Rene advised passengers to alert the driver immediately if they felt they had lost something on a bus.

"The driver would seal the bus and contact security officers at the nearest busway stop to conduct a search... Don't wait until you have arrived at your destination stop to make a complaint," he added.

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