Jakarta public transportation facilities inundated as reduced operations policy backfires

Jakarta citizens crowding a TransJakarta bus stop on March 16, 2020, before partial lockdown measures were enforced. Photo: Twitter
Jakarta citizens crowding a TransJakarta bus stop on March 16, 2020, before partial lockdown measures were enforced. Photo: Twitter

Despite the central government and the Jakarta Provincial Government yesterday urging citizens to work from home in order to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the capital, long lines and crowds at public transportation facilities have been observed this morning after an abrupt reduction in city buses and trains.

In accordance with directives from the provincial government, starting today, the capital’s major transit options, namely TransJakarta and the MRT, have greatly reduced the number of operational vehicles, thus subsequently increasing headway between trips, as the majority of citizens are expected to work from home for the next couple of weeks.

TransJakarta, for one, has reduced its operational routes from 248 to just 13. Meanwhile, the headway between MRT trains have been increased to 20 minutes from the usual five to 10 minutes. 

In a bid to discourage the spread of the coronavirus on public transportation facilities, the provincial government has also suspended the odd-even traffic rule for at least the next two weeks so those who still have to work in the city can drive their private vehicles instead.

It appears that the provincial government has grossly underestimated the number of people who still have to work normally — at least on the first work day since the government’s calls for social distancing — leading to crowded conditions at train stations, bus stops, as well as on the trains and buses themselves.




Jakarta City Council Chairman Prasetio Edi Marsudi is calling on the provincial government to revise the public transportation policy.

“This policy is causing pile ups [at transit facilities]. Consequently, transit officials have had to go out there and manage the crowds,” he said, as quoted by Detik.

Indonesia has seen a huge surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past week, with 21 new cases confirmed in the latest official update yesterday, bringing the total number of domestic infections to 117. The new cases consist of 19 in Jakarta and two in Central Java, according to a statement issued by the Health Ministry. 

President Joko Widodo has urged citizens of the nation to work, pray, and study at home for the foreseeable future. Jakarta has yet to declare a lockdown, but the provincial government has hinted at such a policy. 

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