August 23, 2007

Road Pricing Policy in Jakarta waiting for the New Governor

Traffic in Jakarta is dominated by private cars and motorcycles. Refer to information from Jakarta Transportation Agency, the growth of new vehicle is 11% per-year, while infrastructure is only expanded by 1%. Besides that, JICA Study on Integrated Transport Master Plan (SITRAMP, 2003) indicated that more than 1.3 million vehicles movement per day from and to surrounding cities around Jakarta. These situations caused heavy traffic congestion especially during peak hours and created severe air pollution. SITRAMP study estimates that traffic congestion in Jakarta costs around USD 1.4 billion per-year (exclude health impact cost from traffic air pollution). Therefore Jakarta needs a policy that restricts the number and usage of private car to prevent worsened traffic congestion. 

Following the rapid development of BRT system in Jakarta, Governor Sutiyoso is keen to better control the usage of private vehicles by introducing Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system to replace the existing 3in1 scheme, implemented since 1992, whereas at least three passengers inside a car when entering certain artery roads. The 3in1 scheme is no longer effective due to inadequate regulation and difficult law enforcement, which created a business of “paid passengers” or “jockey”, who get paid between US$ 0,5-1. The existence of the 3in1 jockey business indicated that private car users have willingness to pay to avoid traffic congestion.

Unlike 3in1, with an ERP system, the motorists will have to pay electronically when passing the entrance gate (gantry) in certain area or road. ERP is expected to reduce traffic congestions, air pollution, and fuel consumption since it will encourage people to use public transportation. Ideally, ERP should not be intended to increase revenue for government, since the income from the system can be used to improve the public transportation. However, some people in Jakarta are still skeptical that ERP system will only benefit the rich people, since the poor will be ‘forced’ to use the alternative roads. They said that ERP will just move the congestion and air pollution from the main roads to the alternative small roads.

To implement ERP, Jakarta government needs to consider various aspects, such as legal system, financial, institutional, technology, and social impact. On legal aspect, an analysis is needed to synchronize the regulations on tax, transportation law, justifications on road charges, and the usage of revenue to improve public transportation (earn marking mechanism). The most appropriate and affordable technology to be adopted by Jakarta should be carefully assessed, while the investment scheme could be done through Public Private Partnership. In addition, the socialization of ERP to build public awareness and acceptance is also a very important task. These all works require a strong coordination between DKI Jakarta and the national government; Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Public Work, Ministry of Transportation and Bappenas (Central Planning Bureau).

With such constraints, the implementation of ERP would be difficult before current Governor Sutiyoso’s term ended in October 2007. Jakarta is currently preparing the Detail Engineering Design of ERP and planning to conduct a trial next year, while at the same time, a Task Force will be established to prepare an implementation strategy, legal aspect review and socialization to the public. Finally, a strong “political will” from the new Governor (will be elected in August 2007) is very important, as shown by current Governor Sutiyoso, to make Jakarta as liveable city by reducing the traffic jam, creating better transportation system and air quality.

Restiti Sekartini


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