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Perhaps Governor Sutiyoso should give London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, a call.

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  • eric.britton@ecoplan.org
    We are hearing a lot about the contradcitons and impoerfections of the London project, which of course is what life is all about. You try to make an
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2004
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      We are hearing a lot about the contradcitons and impoerfections of the
      London project, which of course is what life is all about. You try to
      make an imporvement in the movement system of your city, and half the
      world jumps on your head. For those of you who think that Ken and his
      team are doing a bad job, consdier this message from Sustran: ;-)


      -----Original Message-----
      From: sustran-discuss-bounces+ecoplan.adsl==wanadoo.fr@...
      [mailto:sustran-discuss-bounces+ecoplan.adsl==wanadoo.fr@...
      ] On Behalf Of Dharm Guruswamy
      Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:05 PM
      To: sustran-discuss@...
      Subject: [sustran] Clean, safe and speedy ... so why has the Busway
      worsened traffic jams


      ----------
      Clean, safe and speedy ... so why has the Busway worsened traffic
      jams?
      John Aglionby in Jakarta
      Saturday March 27, 2004
      The Guardian

      You either love or loathe Jakarta's new Busway. You're either
      applauding the smart, air-conditioned yellowy-orange buses scything
      through the snarled city-centre traffic in specially created lanes,
      or cursing them. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground.

      Let me state at this point that I'm an emotionally involved. I am a
      fan of the scheme. Who wouldn't back a plan to get people out of
      their cars and on to public buses that offer a clean, safe, cool and
      speedy alternative? Who couldn't support a scheme that cuts by more
      than half the rush-hour journey time from one end of the city to the
      other? (When isn't it rush hour in Jakarta?)

      Whenever I've used the Busway, I've never had to wait more than a
      couple of minutes for a bus, it has been extremely efficient and
      everyone on board gets a thrill whizzing past the stationary traffic.

      When put like that, Governor Sutiyoso's Busway seems a no-brainer,
      particularly at the bargain price of £10m and 18p a ride.

      The snag, though, is that the scheme hasn't got Jakartans out of
      their cars. Mr Sutiyoso decided something had to be done about the
      congestion along the city's main north-south artery, which is divided
      into five lanes in each direction, two of which are already meant for
      buses and slower vehicles.

      Fair enough. But after several trips to Bogotá, Columbia, which has
      allegedly won the war against congestion, he decided to take the fast
      lane of the fast section for his Busway, when there was a perfectly
      good lane - the slow lane of the slow section - crying out to be
      used.

      He painted it red and blocked it off with concrete slabs to prevent
      Jakartan motorists from sneaking down it - although that did not stop
      the vice president from using it on one occasion, to great public
      consternation.

      Then came the problem of how to get people to the buses, across the
      other lanes of traffic. Mr Sutiyoso solved that one by cannibalising
      the existing pedestrian bridges and hacking down a few trees along
      the central reservation for the bus stops.

      Initially the plan was to ban other buses from the route, so people
      wanting to take a bus would have to ride the Busway and there would
      still be four lanes for the selfish people who didn't want to avail
      themselves of public transport.

      But the ban was never put into effect. So the scene is now that there
      are still the smoke-belching, mostly unair-conditioned, body-bashed
      buses blocking the slow lanes. They're laden with passengers because
      they charge less than half the price of the sleek, often almost-empty
      Busway buses. Paying an extra 9p to cut one's journey time is not an
      option for many of the capital's residents.

      No one has cracked the problem of how to get people to the Busway.
      The much-hyped feeder services remain a twinkle in Mr Sutiyoso's eye
      and there is no extra parking provided at either end for commuters to
      park and ride.

      So the result is a traffic-beating system for the tiny minority that
      live close enough to the Busway to make use of it. And as for the
      rest, they have to allow additional time to get anywhere, as the
      traffic is undoubtedly much, much worse than it was before. Perhaps
      Mr Sutiyoso should give London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, a call.


      Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004
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