Thursday, May 10, 2007

Competition for Space

The Transjakarta Busway started operating between Stasiun Kota and Blok M in 2004 (the red line on the map), and only few years later the network has been expanded to cover large parts of Jakarta. And its network is still expanding. It is a cheap and fast way to do something about traffic congestion (a monorail, for example, requires more time, money and expertise to be constructed). The Transjakarta busses bypass traffic jams, because they use special assigned lanes. The Busway system seems to be a success, the busses are always full. But the question remains whether car owners are willing to use this cheap alternative (tickets are only 3500 Rupiah, no matter how far you want to go, that is 1500 Rupiah cheaper than other AC-equipped busses), the users seem to be lower and lower-middle class (but perhaps people are now willing to postpone or even annul the purchase of an automobile). The Transjakarta Busway found its inspiration in another mega third world city: Bogota, the capital of Columbia, which is called TransMilenio (see here). The TransJakarta Busway meets mockery, just because it's felt by the well-to-do that it eats up their space. The well-to-do and the poor are in a fierce competition for space in the city of Jakarta.

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