Now Jakarta Plans Color-Coding for Cars to Beat Jams

The Jakarta Globe

Three-in-one. Truck bans. Electronic road pricing. With the capital’s traffic woes continuing unabated, the police are now considering a radical new scheme to restrict car use: color.

Sr. Comr. Royke Lumowa, the Jakarta Police’s traffic chief, said they were studying a plan to only allow cars of particular colors on the streets each day.

“If the study is completed this month, then in August it might be publicized and hopefully by the end of August it can be implemented,” he said, adding a trial period would last until October.

The scheme has gained favor with the police after they dropped an earlier plan to restrict cars based on whether their license plates ended in odd or even numbers.

“For the odd and even numbered plates, it would have been difficult to implement because not only are they small, they can also be faked,” Royke said.

Nonetheless, the color restriction scheme would only go ahead if the public approved of it, the traffic chief said.

“If this study is accepted by the public, then we will go ahead with it. If not, then we won’t,” he said, adding that the restriction would only apply to private vehicles.

Royke said the classification of cars would be dark and light colors, although he added the police were yet to determine which colors belonged to which group. “Where multiple colors are concerned, we will see which color is dominant,” he added.

Royke said a list of colors for each category would be announced during the introductory period. Where and during which times the restriction would apply would also be determined at a later date, although the scheme would most likely cover major thoroughfares that also accommodated busway lanes, including Jalan Gatot Subroto, Jalan M.H. Thamrin and Jalan Sudirman, as well as the Kuningan, Warung Buncit, Daan Mogot and Pondok Indah areas.

He also said the restriction would initially only be utilized two days a week and only during rush hour.

Meanwhile, Royke said his office was still working with the city on a study to determine the appropriate price for an electronic road pricing system.

He said the police wanted the fee to be high enough to discourage private car use. “Between Rp 50,000 and Rp 100,000 should be the ideal range,” he said, adding that it should not be cheaper than traffic fines otherwise “it would be nonsense.”

Royke said both schemes should be accompanied by better parking facilities and improved public transportation.

Jakarta’s deputy governor, Prijanto, said the city was looking to expand the busway network with as many as 44 buses to be purchased this year.

The city is also awaiting the first stage of a rail-based mass rapid transit system, he said. Construction is scheduled to begin next year, with the system expected to be in operation by 2016.

Danang Parikesit, chairman of the Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI), a nongovernmental group, told the Jakarta Globe that the planned restrictions should only come into effect after adequate, comfortable and reliable public transportation was made available.

“There are about 20 million commuters, but only 4.8 million seats available on public transportation in Greater Jakarta every day,” he said.

Danang said it was important for the government to improve public transportation, particularly the busway network, by adding more routes, more vehicles and increasing capacity.

Udar Pristono, head of the Jakarta Transportation Office, said they were looking at Singapore’s ERP system to help determine an appropriate price. They will also consider toll road fees and the cost of hiring “jockeys” to get around the 3-in-1 carpool rule, he said.

Zaky Pawas & Elisabeth Oktofani

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