Jakarta, a city of 10 million, whose transport network serves 30 million in the greater city area, is the winner of the 2021 Sustainable Transport Award. The award was announced at ITDP’s annual MOBILIZE Summit on Friday, the end of a weeklong virtual event celebrating the 2020 winner, Pune, India.
Jakarta’s win is the culmination of years of groundbreaking work and transformation by the city. In February, Transjakarta hit a major ridership goal of moving one million passengers per day. Nine months into the pandemic, Transjakarta, the longest BRT in the world, continues to provide the most consistent, safe, and accessible transit in the modern history of Jakarta, and this work has paid off during COVID.
Transit Ridership Growth and Improvements
Transjakarta’s growth is a result of making better use of the well-designed infrastructure of the BRT, which opened in 2004. In the past few years, the city has created a system of bus-only lanes and stations that zip passengers around the city apart from regular traffic. By creating a network that connects smaller vehicles, like local buses and paratransit operators alongside BRT buses and their lanes, the system can serve a larger region and more residential areas that would otherwise not be accessible by the BRT bus. Transjakarta is now integrated with medium sized bus operators and informal microbus operators. The next step is multimodal integration, with the LRT (light rail transit), and MRT, the new metrorail in Jakarta, to enable many more people to cover more distance with fewer transfers.
Intermodal integration through development of physical connection between Transjakarta, MRT LRT, and commuter rail to allow easier transfer between modes for passengers. Although the ticketing integration is still on progress for the implementation, the government tries to make sure that taking public transport will be more convenient by providing seamless integration and improving the accessibility to the station.
A Focus on Cycling
Another feature of Jakarta’s transformation has been the planning of a 500km cycling network, the first 63 km of which are already in place. ITDP Indonesia’s work over the last several years, which included hosting cycle rides with the Governor of Jakarta, promoting Car Free Days, and raising the profile of cycling has paid off during COVID. As in most cities around the world, cycling has taken off with significant growth this year. This summer, as Jakarta has begun to ease its large-scale social restrictions, cycling in the city has increased by 500% citywide. In high-volume travel areas, such as near Dukuh Atas station along Jl. Sudirman, ridership grew by 1000%. While this was an emergency response, the city backed it up with policy. During the social restrictions in place during the spring, the city of Jakarta issued Governor Regulation No. 51 of 2020 Article 21 which states: “all road segments are prioritized for pedestrians and bicycle transport users as a means of daily mobility for accessible distances”. With the regulation, pop-up bike lane programs and providing bike parking became the main element to accelerate the city’s vision as a bike-friendly city.
“The public enthusiasm for cycling in Jakarta should be a wakeup call for municipal governments everywhere that just building for cars is no longer good enough,” says Heather Thompson, ITDP CEO. “Whether it’s a pandemic, a climate-change related weather event, or an air quality crisis, Jakarta’s success shows us the value of having all options for transit available to keep the city moving.” Thanks to the groundwork already being laid, the city was able to quickly scale up cycling capacity to meet the moment. They opened up two major roads, Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin, with a “pop-up” bicycle lane, giving priority to cyclists in a highly car-oriented city.
Thompson continued, “The bicycle can be a tool for a movement that allows for distance from others and doesn’t contribute to already breathtaking traffic congestion. This period of such change offers an opportunity for improvements and a shift to a new normal that must be more equitable and more sustainable than before. We are thrilled to celebrate Jakarta over this next year, and we hope to inspire cities around the world to follow in their footsteps.”