Jakarta Confronts its Transit Transgression

You think your daily commute is bad? In one of the world's largest cities, a lack of citywide rapid transit means daily commutes of four hours for many Jakarta residents. Help is on the way, but conditions may get worse before they get better.

"Jakarta, with a metropolitan area populated by 28 million people, remains one of the world’s few major cities without a rapid-transit system, despite plans dating to the 1980s," notes Joe Cochrane. "The closest substitute, the TransJakarta Busway, carries fewer than 400,000 people a day. And a dedicated bus lane during peak hours, when the roads are clogged, does not help, as cars, motorcycles and even government, police and military vehicles illegally drive over the tiny concrete barriers that are supposed to block it off, further delaying the buses."

"But help may finally be on the way," he explains. "Jakarta, the Indonesian government and consortiums of private investors are pouring $4 billion into public transportation infrastructure projects scheduled to start between this October and 2015. They include the first stage of a subway and aboveground rail system linking south and central Jakarta; two monorail projects; an express train to the airport from central Jakarta; and an elevated train circling the outskirts of central Jakarta that would connect to existing provincial commuter rail lines west, south and east of the city."

"But with the first rapid-transit rail lines not scheduled to start operating for at least four years, and greater prosperity only adding to the numbers of cars and motorcycles on the roads, transportation experts warn that in the near term congestion is likely to worsen."

Full Story: Hours to Go, Just to Get to Work

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