Monday, April 28, 2014

Jakarta Transit

Jakarta is the largest city in the world lacking a mass fast transit system. Construction is ongoing, but the solution is a stretched way off. Whereas, car ownership raises up to 10 to 15 percent every year. 

Putting a solution the transit system problem is going to be expensive, despite the fact that it may be cheaper than letting it be the way it is. If you compute the fuel wasted, hours lost and expense of treating all of those exhaust-induced disorders, Jakarta’s traffic is costing the city US$1.8 billion per year, with a ‘b’.

Numerous hotels in Jakarta are to be found within walking distance of key shopping, dining and entertainment districts. Air-conditioned bus or taxi is a welcome relief when the heat and humidity are high.

Rail: campaigns to build an MRT in Jakarta has been in process for more than two decades. It was in 2004 when the serious effort to build one began. Nevertheless, development rapidly went the way of local traffic and ground to a cut short. And with just a few years later, the Economist published an article reminding everyone about the ‘total gridlock’ predictions for 2014, and the alarms hit a fever pitch. Yet again, construction continued, and a soft launch of the MRT’s first phase begun again in 2013.

By 2016, phase I may be fully operational if corruption and bureaucracy stay in check. And adding two more years for phase II, and there’s definitely hope on the horizon. Commuters’ white-knuckled aggravations will carry on throughout the next couple years.

Buses: TransJakarta service is the closest thing that Jakarta has to mass transit, it operates in an assigned bus way corridor linking some of the city’s main areas. The said buses are inexpensive, air-conditioned and less crowded than the regular buses that plod the main traffic arteries. Pay a flat fare to get to the cordoned-off bus stop area. TransJakarta is perhaps the finest choice for getting around Jakarta, but it is a bit complicated and getting the most out of this system requires practice.

The regular city buses are also an alternative, but are frequently hot, crowded, and subject to the whim of traffic movement. 

Taxis: The majority tourists choose to use taxis and experience the traffic jams if they have to. At least the driver knows where he’s going, and the fares are calculated by the kilometer and not by the minute. Though not technically required, tipping is expected. Locals more often than not round up to the nearest thousand-rupiah note. Charges for toll roads and parking are paid by the passenger.

Blue Bird Group, serves more than 8.5 million passengers per month, is the most reliable taxi service. You can reserve a cab online with a Blue Bird smart phone app. The service is so respected that more than a few fake taxi drivers have painted Blue Bird’s logo on their cars to try to pass their service off as the genuine. 

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