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Joko Widodo: Jakarta to get serious about mass transit

Indonesia President Joko Widodo discussed Jakarta's need for better transit during a recent trip to China. (Boao Forum For Asia)

Few cities are as traffic-choked as Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital and largest city. In fact, some officials have warned of permanent traffic paralysis unless extreme steps are taken to ease congestion.

To avoid that doomsday scenario, President Joko Widodo has declared that Jakarta and other Indonesian cities get serious about expanding mass transit, Novy Lumanauw reports for the Jakarta Globe.

The pronouncement came during a state visit to China, which is struggling with its own traffic challenges. Jakarta already is building its first commuter rail system. Meanwhile, construction of a light-rail network connecting Jakarta with three satellite cities — Bogor, Tangerang and Bekasi — is expected to begin soon.

Before becoming president last year, Joko was previously the governor of Jakarta and the mayor of a small town before that.

Indonesia contributed to the bottleneck on its roads by spending “billions” of dollars annually to subsidize gasoline for private cars, the article says. “A series of inept policies in Indonesia’s capital have condemned millions of commuters to congested journeys to get to work that can take hours,” Lumanauw writes. The goal now is to boost expenditures on infrastructure projects that promote public transit.

Jakarta Globe

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