Motorcycle ban in Central Jakarta invites complaints

Motorcycle ban in Central Jakarta invites complaints
Wrong turn: A policewoman stops a motorcyclist who is about to enter Jl. Sudirman in Central Jakarta on Wednesday. The authorities began a month-long trial of a motorcycle ban on a 2-kilometer stretch of one of the capital’s main streets between the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and the northern end of Jl. Merdeka Barat.

As expected, the trial motorcycle ban imposed on Jl. MH Thamrin and Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta that kicked off Wednesday has triggered complaints and traffic congestion in the surrounding areas.

An admin clerk working in Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD) area on Jl. Sudirman, Dody Achmadi, said he was forced to take a public bus instead of his own motorcycle as he had to deliver documents to offices on Jl. MH Thamrin on a daily basis.

"I usually don't have much time as the documents are often ready at the last minute. My friend took a longer route through Benhil [Bendungan Hilir] and Tanah Abang to reach Jl. Thamrin. I'd rather use the Transjakarta bus to save time," Dody told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, East Jakarta resident Cahyo Sukaryo, an analyst working on Jl. Sudirman who takes a motorcycle to work, complained about how the policy had affected his route to the office, despite the fact that he does not use Jl. MH Thamrin.

"The traffic on Jl. Gatot Subroto was just crazy. I heard a Kopaja driver complain about how they had hardly driven one circuit in four hours. Meanwhile, my friends who used Jl. Sudirman had smooth trips," he said.

He said he did not mind policies that aimed to limit private vehicles, as long as the administration was prepared. He claimed that parking areas near bus stops were not ready yet and suggested that the bus fleet be expanded to cope with the increase in passengers shifting from motorcycles.

Despite the complaints, motorcyclists have generally shown that they are aware of the new policy and are willing to comply with the regulation. On the first day of the one-month trial motorcycle restriction from Jl. MH Thamrin to Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta, only a few motorcyclists were seen taking the prohibited streets at the Bank Indonesia (BI) intersection in Central Jakarta.

Jakarta Traffic Police Second Brig. Rio Rizki, who was posted on the street near BI, said motorcyclists had barely taken the prohibited route under his supervision.

"Since 5 a.m. I have only seen and warned five people who claimed that they did not have any information about the new regulation," Rio told the Post.

Jakarta Transportation Agency head Muhammad Akbar said that his agency had deployed 110 officers to watch the trial implementation along the prohibited streets.

He said the city administration had put up a number of banners and road signs about the regulation that urged motorcyclists to take alternative roads or cross both streets.

"In addition, there were also officers from the Jakarta Police and the Public Order Agency on duty," Akbar said.

However, he said not many motorcyclists took the buses provided by the city administration as most preferred to take alternative roads.

The administration provided 15 buses plying the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle-Medan Merdeka Barat-Harmoni route, which operated between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. It also claimed that it had provided parking spaces by 12 buildings along the prohibited roads that could accommodate 6,528 motorcycles.

"If this programme succeeds, the city administration will implement the policy on other busy roads, such as Jl. Gatot Subroto and Jl. HR Rasuna Said in South Jakarta. This is just a start," he said.

Jl. MH Thamrim was chosen in line with the city's plan to impose an electronic road pricing (ERP) system on the capital's main streets.

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