Jakarta’s traffic returns to a crawl

Pre-pandemic congestion: Despite efforts by the authorities, vehicles are still encountering packed highways in Jakarta. — AFP

Jakarta once again saw a significant increase in its traffic congestion last year, as Indonesia gradually moved on from the Covid-19 outbreak and pre-pandemic bustle returned to the city, the 2022 TomTom Traffic Index revealed.

According to the recently released report, Jakartans spend an average of 22 minutes and 40 seconds to travel 10km.

The figure rose by two minutes and 50 seconds compared to last year, the highest increase among 389 major cities surveyed.

The new travel time put Jakarta at 29th among the most-congested cities in the world, moving up 17 places from last year’s rankings, when the city placed 46th.

Jakarta has seen a continuous improvement in its traffic woes in the past few years, largely due to decrease in mobility amid pandemic restrictions.

In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, the city ranked 31st among the most-congested cities, which was a massive improvement from 2019, when the capital placed 10th on the Tom-Tom Traffic Index.

Despite the worsening congestion, however, Jakarta had still improved its ranking compared to pre-pandemic times.

Before 2020, the capital was consistently ranked among the top-10 most-congested cities in the world.

City officials have made various efforts to curb the returning congestion, including by reinforcing odd-even licence-plate policy on 25 major thoroughfares in Jakarta.

Introduced in 2016, the odd-even policy bars vehicles from certain roads on certain days based on the terminal digit of their licence plates and the day of the month.

Last year, city authorities said they had been considering imposing staggered working hours to further alleviate congestion during rush hours, but the plan was scrapped recently following protests from employers and companies.

Transportation experts said improving the public transportation system in Jakarta and its satellite cities was key to solving the city’s perennial traffic problems. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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