I must admit that the most hateful thing about Jakarta is the traffic. It sucks thinking that the streets will be full of cars and bikes when you step out of home. Living in peaceful Melbourne somehow scares me of going back to Jakarta’s madness. Even when I was working, the most tiring part of the days was the trip. I can reach my office in less than an hour in the morning but I can only reach home in at least 1.5 hours every evening.
As far as I concern, there are three major problems with the traffic in Jakarta. And here I will try to compare to Melbourne’s condition.
- Public transport. OK, first thing, Aussie says their public transport sucks and they definitely never went to Indonesia. Their public transport sucks sometimes but it’s not as bad as Jakarta’s. What I like about the public transports here: it has clear timetables [not always punctual but at least we have guidelines about when the tram/train/bus will come], certain stops and delay notifications. Public transports in Jakarta never have timetables [I’d waited for the Transjakarta bus to come for 40 minutes until I finally decided to take a cab instead.], don’t have certain stops [they can stop wherever they want–we’re not talking about Transjakarta here] and definitely no delay notifications, other than the Transjakarta guys shouting out loud on the central shelter. Moreover, busway, which was originally created to reduce traffic jam, doesn’t solve the jam issue because it decreases the street lane. Hence, it’s adding the jam. In Melbourne, even the tram lines are shared with private vehicles [of course, the drivers are considering their own safety, remembering that a tram is the same weight as 30 rhinos :P].
- Traffic rules. Jakarta-ers will say that Aussie are boring because they obey the rules. Well, when you’re on the road, it’s always better to obey the rules. I don’t naively say that Aussie doesn’t cut other people’s line or whatever; in fact, they do. But the percentage is much less than Indonesians who do that. Cutting people’s line is one aspect causing traffic jam. Passing the red light is in this category. 😛 Plus, most traffic cops in Jakarta are just standing there in the middle of the jam to stop and ask for money from the drivers who cross the rules, instead of helping them finding a way to minimize the jam.
- Facility. One Indonesia’s weakness is to maintain its public facilities. Even card payment for busway can’t go smoothly as it was planned. This leaves us backward. A friend of mine asked me whether the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), the electronic toll collection system used in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia, will work well if applied in Indonesia. I answered no, because the maintenance system will be very bad. Additionally, many people will cheat on ERP in order to get more money [this is from the developer side] or to pay less [from the customer side].