Odd-even traffic rule returns, fines apply starting Thursday

Jalan M.H. Thamrin in Central Jakarta. Photo: Coconuts Media
Jalan M.H. Thamrin in Central Jakarta. Photo: Coconuts Media

In what has become one of the clearest signs that the “new normal” doesn’t apply to Jakarta’s perpetually busy roads, the odd-even traffic rule is once again rolling after it was suspended since the official start of the coronavirus outbreak in Indonesia in March.

The rule — which only allows cars with license plates ending with an even number to be used on affected major roads on even calendar dates and vice-versa for odd dates — is being reinforced starting today, but fines will only be handed out to violators starting Thursday thanks to a three-day grace period.

The rule applies every working day from 6AM-10AM and 4PM-9PM.

One major adjustment to the rule is the exemption of motorcycles, as officials currently don’t see the need to limit the two-wheelers yet.

“If our analysis shows that there is no change to people’s mobility during this period, then we may enforce the odd-even rule all day long or enforce it on motorcycles as well,” Jakarta Transportation Agency Head Syafrin Liputo said yesterday.

Syafrin added that odd-even was reintroduced to restrict the number of commuters in the capital, which remained high during the pandemic. The Transportation Agency hopes that the rule can encourage workplaces to implement daily rotations of staff based on their odd-even compatibility, thus enabling them to comply with the provincial government’s 50 percent capacity rule at offices.

Jakarta, one of the worst-hit provinces by the coronavirus outbreak, is currently transitioning away from the Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) policy, which was widely seen as a very loose lockdown measure. Barring perhaps the first couple of weeks of the pandemic, and even during PSBB, vehicles have been regularly jamming some of the capital’s roads as if the pandemic never happened. As a result, the return of the odd-even traffic rule has been in the cards for some time. 

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