Anies slammed for boasting reduction in Jakarta’s traffic density amid pandemic

File photo of traffic on Jalan MH Thamrin in Jakarta. Photo: Coconuts Media
File photo of traffic on Jalan MH Thamrin in Jakarta. Photo: Coconuts Media

Have Jakarta’s streets been relatively free of maddening macet (traffic jams) over the past year? Like in most major cities during the pandemic, of course they have, but Governor Anies Baswedan has invited criticism upon himself after he seemingly took pride in the non-achievement.

Speaking in front of President Joko Widodo during a National Press Day celebration at the Presidential Palace yesterday, Anies shared the news that Jakarta dropped out of a list of cities with the worst traffic in the world according to TomTom, a company best known for its GPS navigational devices on cars.

“Please allow me to report that Jakarta in 2020 dropped out of the list of 10 cities with the worst traffic in the world,” Anies said during the event.

The governor pointed out Jakarta’s positive progress in the index, with the capital coming in 4th in 2017, 7th in 2018, and 10th in 2019. In 2020, Jakarta moved down the list to 31st, scoring a congestion rate of 36 percent, down 17 percent from the previous year.

You can read TomTom’s 2020 Traffic Index in full here.

Many have said Anies boasting Jakarta dropping out of the top 10 was inappropriate amid the pandemic, when one of the biggest factors that led to reduction in traffic was restrictions on public mobility.

“Throughout 2020 we did not see any revolutionary [policies] from the Jakarta governor to solve the city’s transportation problems,” said National Awakening Party (PKB) lawmaker Luqman Hakim.

“The conditions are not normal, so why boast [the index]?” said Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Rahmat Handoyo.

Anies was also recently credited with advancements in sustainable mobility in Jakarta in recent years, which his critics say were only possible thanks to his predecessors.

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