if you haven’t got the answer, you might have not asked the right question

September 5, 2010

for jakarta dwellers, traffic jam is the most important issue.

people thinks it is very crucial for the government to solve the issue, but this issue has been around for more than 15 years 🙂

the government, experts, legislators and ordinary people majority of them think the solution is mass rapid transportation (MRT), the most awaited thing to come in jakarta (more than iPad, obviously).

for me, while the MRT existance is one big part of the solution, I am more interested with the problem.

First of all, the growth of roads in the Greater Jakarta is less than 0.01% per year. The growth of vehicle is 8%.  It does not need a professor in transportation to see the obvious problem.

But this is the same society who likes to show the economics growth with the “positive growth” of car/motors business. We celebrate the annual Jakarta International Motor Show with high anticipation, many visitors and of course the traffic jam in the convention center, and all media will cite the success of the exhibition by quoting the number of  sales and orders. This is the same society who relate success with the ownership of car or motorbike.

To make thing more complex, our economy depends highly on the vehicle industries. Many business, money, and employment are created by the high growth of car/motor industries.

Secondly, is it really only the government’s responsibility?

Let me tell you my observation as a frequent commuter. I have seen bus/truck on the fast lane, not on slow lane. I have seen small car run very slowly on the fast lane, without feeling something’s wrong. So many crazy drivers run their cars zig-zag in the middle of heavy traffic. Motorcycle riders (aka “bikers”) have their own rules. They use the ramps, trotoars, every space they can run through. Most of them don’t stop at the traffic light, get angry when THEY hit other cars.

And the police? They should have enforced the law. Many traffic jams are because of lack of law enforcement. Buses use intersection as temporary terminals. Pedestrians cross the road anywhere they wants. And there is this rule “3-in-1” which I think the biggest joke of the century. Everybody knows that is not effective, does not help the traffic and only creates another problem.

In my opinion, the MRT is a great thing to build. But before that we need to set the basic’s right. As drivers/bikers, we must follow the rules. Policemen must enforce the law. With these two, I think we can reduce the traffic jam a lil bit in the short term, AND especially in the future.

Without getting the basic right and the discipline, the MRT could only create another problem. Just like the busway project.

Sometimes what we need is not a better solution, but just a better way to look at the problem.