From Busway System to Monorail Dream

The monorail is special in that it can readily reach users as it passes through the city. As many as 14 stops would be built along its tracks. At an average speed of 40 km/hour or a maximum speed of 80 km/hour, the monorail could carry 30,000 passengers in an hour. The monorail, which would be built 5.5 meters above the ground or 12 meters above the ground where it passes over a flyover, would be extremely effective for densely populated Jakarta.

The first stage of its construction, which would take 2.5 years to complete, would be expected to require US$400 million, less than the construction of a subway, which would require $1.2 billion for every 13 kilometers.

If the government is consistent with a plan it conceived two years ago, the construction of the monorail along the Bekasi-Mega Kuningan route will be completed by early 2006. According to As’ad Nugroho, a researcher attached to the Public Interest Research and Advocacy Center, the construction of a monorail is a smart idea as rather than clashing with other transportation systems it would complement them.

Bambang Susantono, the secretary-general of the Sustainable Transportation Action Network for Asia and the Pacific and an advisor to the National Development Planning Board, agreed to some extent with As’ad but added that for the monorail to overcome Jakarta’s transportation problems the management of the city’s transportation needed to be integrated.

He was of the opinion that the most suitable system for Jakarta is the MRT (mass rapid transit).
“The MRT is a must. However, it is still too difficult to apply this system in Jakarta, which is backward compared to other major cities abroad,” he said.

In any case, the public is no doubt in for a long wait for a transportation system in which safety, comfort and punctuality are priorities, due to the huge cost. The construction of the Blok M-Kota busway corridor in 2003, for example, required no less than Rp 83.25 billion for the purchase of 60 new buses, the construction of bus stops and the rebuilding of pedestrian overpasses, among other costs.

One thing is for sure, according to Yayat Supriatna, a lecturer of planology engineering at Trisakti University in Jakarta, in principle the monorail system is the best option for Jakarta. As a national and international center for trade, Jakarta requires a comfortable, safe and rapid public transportation means. What must be taken into account in furthering the development of a public transportation system in Jakarta today is how to integrate a transportation network with dynamic growth into rapidly and uncontrollably developing surrounding areas.

The causes of the perennial traffic congestion in Jakarta lie in the failure to anticipate change in the system of land use and also in the late development of a road network and a decent public transportation system. (Burhan Abe)

The Jakarta Post, October 25, 2005

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