JAKARTA — The Jakarta provincial government is expected to begin an intensive public campaign to educate motorists on its Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system in the next few months.
The city’s administration wants to implement ERP by the end of 2015. It has been studying the system to reduce traffic congestion since 2006.
“We have prepared the concept for an intensive socialisation in two to three months’ time on how the community can be informed of the ERP concept in a big and complete way,” said Mr Leo Armstrong, head of the ERP management unit at Jakarta Transportation Agency. “The government will lead the campaign.”
Two ERP gantries have been erected at two busy roads to test the system. Trials have already been completed and the local government says the results are encouraging.
However, transport analysts are not convinced. “This is like a publicity stunt where they just put some fancy gantries in the middle of the road,” said Mr Yoda Adiwinarto, country manager at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
“The transport agency claimed that they want to try the effectiveness of the gantry; they want to try whether the on-board unit will work well. The problem is that all the on-board units that they installed were only for the official vehicles. So why bother putting the giant gantries on the public roads? Just try it somewhere nobody knows.”
The tender for the implementation of the ERP system is expected to be released in June. A one-day workshop will also be conducted among various stakeholders to discuss road pricing regulations.
One of the challenges facing the implementation of ERP concerns motorists using small shortcut roads. Jakarta has a complicated network of roads which includes small shortcut roads.
The provincial government is well aware that motorists may try to bypass the ERP by using shortcut roads. But while taking such a route may save some money, it may not save time because during peak hours shortcut roads are even more congested.
Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has set a target for the ERP system to be completed by the end of 2015.
Transport analysts believe this may not happen because of the lack of progress on the ground. In addition, the project has been hit by numerous delays over the years.
Motorists have mixed views about the effectiveness of electronic road pricing.
“Sometimes electronic pricing can be a solution for the traffic but sometimes I think a collaboration system electronic and manual system could be integrated to be a solution in Jakarta because not all the people in Jakarta support electronics,” said one motorist.
“I think we need more, wider roads,” added another motorist. “The ERP will not have any effect on congestion.”
Jakarta is struggling to keep vehicle population down, and it hopes electronic road pricing, which means higher costs for private vehicles, will help to solve the problem.
At the same time, it is improving the public transport infrastructure to encourage motorists to turn to buses and trains instead.