Jakarta Post – Celebrating its 10th anniversary in January, the Transjakarta Management Authority (BLU) received probably the best present ever: A new status as a city-owned company. The City Council recently passed a bylaw on the establishment of city-owned bus rapid transit operator PT Transjakarta, a move that is believed will improve the capital’s bus rapid transit system.
The BLU was previously a sub-unit under the auspices of the Jakarta Transportation Agency.Transjakarta bus has arguably become one of the favorite public transportation modes in the capital, home to more than 10 million people. Transjakarta BRT system was introduced by former governor Sutiyoso in 2004 as an alternative method to beat the frustrating traffic gridlock in Jakarta. The first route launched was Corridor 1 serving Blok M in South Jakarta and Kota in West Jakarta. After 10 years, Transjakarta now has 12 corridors — connecting every municipality in Jakarta, with 889 buses carrying more than 370,000 passengers daily.Transportation experts laud the endorsement of the bylaw as a positive signal to the city’s commuters who rely on public transportation to get about every day.
The head of Jakarta’s branch of the Indonesia Transportation Society, Tri Tjahjono, said that the new status would provide ample scope for Transjakarta to develop itself, to the benefit of passengers. "Over the past 10 years, we have seen developments, although very few. Now it will be more flexible to do whatever necessary to develop and improve public services. Just look what happened with [national flag carrier] Garuda Indonesia and [state-owned railway operator] PT KAI, which have now become major companies," he told The Jakarta Post over the weekend.
In the first stages, Tri continued, the company should conduct a proper study of Transjakarta bus ticket fares. "Such a study will find out the passenger’s willingness to pay in comparison to operational costs, so it can determine how much funds they have to gain from ticket sales. From there they can prepare a business plan to meet it," Tri said, adding that the company should be able to procure its own buses in the future. "From now on, everything will depend on the good leadership [of the company]," he said.
Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo previously said that he would appoint members of the company’s board of directors and commissioners sometime this month, even though he declined to reveal the names of potential candidates. Deputy Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, however, has hinted that the city leaders were eyeing experienced people from several influential institutions in the country. "We have asked for recommended names from [state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia president director] Pak [Ignasius] Jonan and maybe several names from the Railway Directorate General, as well as from private companies to fill the board of directors. "I have also asked a for few names from Pak Erry and probably some two-star generals to fill the board of commissioners," he said, referring to Erry Ryana Hardjapamekas, the former chief of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), who currently serves as a member of city-owned mass rapid transit operator PT MRT Jakarta’s board of commissioners. Ahok said he expected that the presence of former KPK leaders within the company would minimize fraudulent practices within the new company, while experienced leaders from the railway company was expected to pave way for Transjakarta to work together with PT KAI to integrate mass public transportation modes in Jakarta. To enable the company to do so, Ahok continued, the city administration planned to hand over the management of bus terminals in the capital to Transjakarta.
"We expect that Transjakarta will become a major city firm which will eventually go public so that the public can also monitor it," the deputy governor said.