Thursday, August 31, 2006

More than one way to skin a cat

One thing you learn in Jakarta is that you should never expect to travel the same route between two places on a regular basis, due to the sudden onset of roadworks, flooding, land disputes, weddings, demonstrations, truck and bus accidents, special events, or huge potholes from shoddy construction, geophysical activity or subsidence.

My daily commute to the office is around 25km, and "normally" takes around 1 hour 15 minutes, but can be as much as 3 hours due to any of the above issues. With the Governor of Jakarta pressing ahead with his misguided Busway project, several of the gridlocked city arterial roads are now missing two lanes while the dedicated Busway lanes and bus stations are constructed. Given that these lanes can't be used by any vehicles now, and won't be used by any vehicles other than TransJakarta buses once construction is completed, it's clear that the current traffic congestion is not going to be improved once the new Busway corridors are up and running.

With my daily commute bumped to 2.5 hours using any of the regular routes I've used up until now, I've had to find a new way of getting to the office, using the trial-and-error method. Fortunately I've settled on a route that gets me to the office in around the 1 hour 15 minutes that I'm used to, by following a partially completed tollroad that ends abruptly due to a long running land dispute (the tollroad was supposed to be finished in 2005). Where the tollroad turns to clay, local residents involved in the land dispute direct us to a dirt track where, for a fee of 1000 Rupiah (10 cents) we find ourselves traveling on a road parallel to the incomplete tollroad, and after a few minutes crawling through a local market and some back lanes, we arrive at my office in good time.

Having spent a week or two using the trial-and-error method of choosing a new route, it feels like somewhat of a victory to find a new route that takes less than 2 or 3 hours.


Blogger fantarara said...

The "misguided Busway project" is actually not the governor's brainchild. In fact, it is a small part of a transport master plan for Jkt, developed w/ contributions from many people, layman and experts alike.

The master plan is not meant to make commute comfortable for those people who insist on taking their own car, often with <50% passenger capacity. It's designed to give disincentive to these people, incl in the form of addtl travel time.

Last week, during evening rush hour, I took the busway from Ratu Plaza to Monas, change there for the Pulogadung and arrived at my destination, the train station at Gambir, in 25 minutes, for Rp7,000. Using a taxi, the journey would've me at least Rp25k and take not less than 45 minutes.

I say, you are misguided about the Busway project. The key to efficient travel in Jkt is not in finding an efficient ROUTE, but rather, an efficient combination of MODES OF TRANSPORT to ge to your destination.

7:20 PM  
Blogger The Editor said...

Hi Fantarara, thanks for the detailed travel itinerary, which I will keep in mind for my next trip from Ratu Plaza to Gambir. Unfortunately, my daily commute takes me to Bekasi, so as far as your wonderful Busway is concerned I'm shit out of luck.

6:40 AM  
Blogger xipiyan said...

indonesia is a unique country
the people can drive very fast but when them working are super slow
and the police make me scare.
so... can u tell me why u r interested in Indonesia??

12:26 PM  
Blogger nevins manafe said...

yeah, we are way out of luck! im staying in bekasi as well.. and that dirty road before the toll way, i often pass that way as well! I hope u will enjoy it someday.. I just love everyhing the way it is.. :p

4:18 PM  

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