JAKARTA • President Joko Widodo is looking to get to grips with the appalling Jakarta traffic, saying that "we have to be brave" to stop the 65 trillion rupiah (S$6.5 billion) annual losses caused by perennial traffic jams.
"We really need to push people to ride public transit modes that we have prepared so we can significantly reduce the number of cars on the streets," he said on Tuesday.
Mr Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, said bad traffic jams and drivers being stuck in "total congestion" would get worse if the government did not iron out the problem. Traffic congestion in Greater Jakarta costs 65 trillion rupiah every year, he said, quoting data from the National Development Planning Agency.
He said the many modes of public transport in Greater Jakarta - MRT, light rail transit (LRT), Transjakarta buses, the airport train and commuter trains - had helped reduce traffic congestion.
"But in the future, I expect we can manage all these modes better," he said. He cited as an example the management of roads, with many different institutions handling different sections.
"Sometimes, they don't manage them well, they are not integrated enough and what happens is that they wait for each other to move first when it comes to maintenance," he said.
Mr Joko also wanted to see more public transport facilities developed and better integrated.
"We can make things with this 65 trillion rupiah, instead of letting it puff into smoke polluting the city."
The Jakarta administration does not have an overarching plan for its public transport modes. The managements of the MRT, LRT, Transjakarta and commuter trains, for example, have plans that overlap.
Mr Joko also wanted to speed up transit-oriented development management, which he said had been stagnant for years because of too many institutions handling it.
"We have the Jakarta administration, the Ministry of State Owned Enterprises, other ministries and the West Java and Banten administrations," he said.
To speed up transit-oriented development, Indonesia needs to take into account spatial and urban transportation planning so as to increase access to public transport, he said.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK