Will Jakarta Still Congested if Not Capital City?


The congested Capital.

It is difficult to imagine Jakarta without the “capital city” title. But that’s what the Acting Governor of Jakarta, Heru Budi Hartono, reminded recently.

The discourse on moving the national capital (IKN) to East Kalimantan has been echoed for a long time. The government targets the transfer to occur in the first half of 2024. The building of this upcoming capital, which is relatively close to Sabah and Sarawak, may also attract Malaysian investors.

Yet, what will be the fate of Jakarta after the transfer? Former Jakarta Governor, Anies Baswedan, said that capital relocation would not impact Jakarta, including congestion.

Jakarta is the most populous province with a population of more than 10 million people. According to Anies, the shift of the central government’s state civil apparatus to East Kalimantan will only reduce Jakarta’s congestion by less than 7 percent. This is because most road activities are filled by citizens for household and business needs, including the high mobility of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi (Bodetabek) citizens who commute to Jakarta daily to work.

Heru, in his article entitled “Jakarta Kini dan Nanti” (Jakarta Now and Later) published recently in Kompas Daily, noted that around 20 million residents from buffer zones work in Jakarta. From this, it is clear that traffic jams will still haunt Jakarta, even without its “capital city” status. Meanwhile, office and trading activities must be continued to maintain the stability of the country’s economy.

Jakarta contributes 17 percent to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Even prior to COVID-19 pandemic, Jakarta contributed 5-6 percent to national economic growth and 60-70 percent of national tax revenue, showing its important role to the country’s economy.

The head of the Presidential Secretariat acknowledged that Jakarta will always be a business center and a global city. He suggested in developing Jakarta as a resilient, transit-based, and digital economic axis after the shift of the capital city.

Unravelling Jakarta’s traffic gradually

Since his first day as an Acting Governor on 17 October 2022, Heru focused on the issues of traffic jams, flooding, and spatial planning in Jakarta – the three priorities that President Joko Widodo mandated to him. In a rally with Jakarta Regional Leadership Coordination Forum (Forkopimda) at the National Monument on October 24, Heru conveyed the importance of creating an orderly and safe traffic conditions as a priority. Jakarta needs to have an integrated transportation infrastructure.

Now, a program named Jaklingko has been implemented prior to his office. With this, citizens can enjoy an integrated service of Transjakarta Bus, MRT and LRT trains with a maximum fee of IDR10 thousand. Another step to be done is to invite PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) as Jabodetabek’s electric train (KRL) operator to be part of the integration. One of the plans is to acquire KCI’s shares by PT MRT Jakarta.

The 2023’s Jakarta Regional Budget has allocated IDR 100 billion to launch the acquisition. The budget is provided in the form of regional equity participation, or a capital injection to PT MRT Jakarta.

Other than that, minimizing U-Turns and implementing one-way roads at certain hours are also considered. However, there is no recent development regarding the plan, though it may not sound as effective.

The problem is the volume of vehicles crossing Jakarta’s streets continues to grow. The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) noted that the number of motorized vehicles in Jakarta continued to increase within 2017-2021. In 2017, the number of motorized vehicles reached 17.6 million units, and jumped to 21.8 million units in 2021.

Minimizing private vehicle on the streets would make a perfect sense to control the traffic. However, the development of mass transportation should be elevated.

Public transport as one of sustainable city transportations.

Several public transportation development projects are ongoing in the city, including the construction of the MRT train line up to ‘Phase 4’, Jakarta’s LRT ‘Phase 1B’ (Velodrome-Manggarai), and ‘Phase 2’ subway infrastructure for HI-Ancol route. The government also signed cooperation agreements with Japan and the UK for the construction of the first ‘Phase 3’ MRT, which stretches from Ujung Menteng to Kalideres. South Korea is also interested in funding the construction of ‘Phase 4’ MRT (Fatmawati-Taman Mini Indonesia Indah). The signing took place at the G20 Summit in Bali on 14 November 2022.

For Jakarta’s LRT ‘Phase 1B’, the construction will begin next year by PT Jakarta Propertindo (Jakpro), where the company will receive a capital injection of IDR 916 billion for the initial construction. Meanwhile, Jakarta Transportation Agency is responsible for procuring land for the railway line, which costs IDR 20 billion. This is regulated in the Government Regulation Number 13 of 2017, concerning National Spatial Plans, covering Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi, Puncak, and Cianjur (Jabodetabekpunjur) as a national strategic area.

For this reason, Heru highlights the importance of developing logistics integration transportation services at ports and airports, as well as public transportation integration to facilitate the mobility of citizens, both for work and trade.

Bicycles, an alternative to sustainable city transportation

Other than an integrated public transportation service that was projected to minimize private vehicles while contributing to better air quality, more efforts are needed to solve the congestion issue in the city. One of them was the construction of bicycle lanes for better integration.

During Anies Baswedan’s leadership, bicycle paths were built adjacent to train stations and bus stops, including providing bicycle spaces inside MRT and Transjakarta bus stations. This encouraged residents to use bicycle to reach the nearest public transportation points and conveniently reach their final destinations.

In other words, bicycles should be included in an integrated mass transportation network. It is hoped that the Jakarta government targets to build 195.6 kilometers of bike paths this year.

Keeping in mind on the goal of making Jakarta a business center and a resilient global city, more than the acceleration of public transportation system, building a green-city is also hoped. One way is to make Jakarta ‘cyclist and pedestrian friendly’ as the future of the city. Overall, it takes an integrated effort to make Jakarta a safe and convenient space for citizens.

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