Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
If a sustainable transportation system is not developed to reduce air pollution in Jakarta, the government will start limiting car sales in the capital, the State Ministry for the Environment warned.
The state ministry's deputy assistant for emissions control, Ridwan Tamin, said Friday the existing transportation system in Jakarta has not encouraged private car owners to switch to public transportation.
"Completion of the busway and monorail systems are half-hearted efforts. The government needs to get moving and finish what it has started," Ridwan told The Jakarta Post.
"If air pollution remains at high levels, it is feasible to ban private car sales."
He said it was time the automotive industry assisted the city administration in developing the public transportation system.
"The government needs to enforce the law on emissions tests, as stipulated in air pollution control bylaws."
He said sustainable transportation must be eco-friendly and accessible to all levels of society.
"The government must improve the busway by setting up more stops and providing feeder buses to ease congestion. Sustainable transportation is urgently needed," Ridwan said.
Some busway buses operate on eco-friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) and are part of the city's mass rapid transit (MRT) system, which is aimed at resolving long-standing transportation problems. Plans to improve the MRT system include the addition of subway, monorail and waterway transportation options.
Seven busway corridors, out of a planned 15, are currently in operation. The waterway project is expected to begin in June.
There are now more than 2.5 million private cars and 3.8 million motorcycles in the city -- and only 255,000 public transportation vehicles.
The government says private car ownership rises by at least 11 percent each year, far higher than the 1 percent increase in newly constructed roads annually.
At this rate the city will be gridlocked by 2014.
The government recorded only 48 days of clean air in Jakarta last year, up from 28 recorded in 2005.
Transportation expert from the University of Indonesia, Susanto Soehodho, said the automotive industry has a responsibility to help the government set up a sustainable transportation system.
He said the automotive industry should set aside a percentage of income from car sales to improve the public transportation system.