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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Transfartation in Jakarta

On one monday morning i had a meeting appointment that took me around 2 hours to travel 16 kilometers between 8-10am, that's an 8km/h average speed, roughly as fast as a medium-pace jog on a treadmill. 
Now, if i travel bit over midnight it takes me around 25 minutes to travel 28 kilometers that is an average speed of slightly over 60km/h, which is almost 8 times faster than if i travel in the morning. 

So if for an example if you live in the south and works in the north of the town or west part of the town, you will spend 3-4 hours a day just to get there and home, which is 20 hours a week, that is 80 hours a month, and 960 hours a year or 40 days! 
So, out of a year of your Life, you will lose more than a month just sitting on your car, fiddling with your blackberry, cursing motorcyclists, thinking of how useless the police and the government are in organizing the traffic. Some of the more fortunate can stretch their legs in their captain's seat or watch america's next top model on DVD in your luxurious wheely box.

lets say if you don't kill yourself or others by working in the same place for 10 years or more, than you will waste,… yeah waste, i think that's the most appropriate word to describe this, waste one whole year just sitting in traffic. One whole year! you can learn a language in one whole year, you can set up a restaurant in a year, or can get a diploma in a year! 
So if you are now 60 years old, and have been living in Jakarta, and you have been working somewhere in a traffic-crap-pot area, then you probably have wasted around 5 years of your life. 
5 years!, i can watch my kid grow, … well when i have one, i can travel the world, learn 3 or more languages, have 3-5 different relationships with different girlfriends,.. or ten or more, if i get lucky.
i can teach a whole design degree, well it takes less than 5 years to finish anyways. I can, or you can do a lot of things in 5 whole years! 

And the other thing that i want to point out is that within that whole ball-suckin time sitting in hell hole of polluted air, noise, and visual (since most of the time we don't have excellent sceneries of lovely rice fields, or nice store front, or sidewalk) we complain about the traffic, we head but with other people on the road, we honk loudly to motorcycles, we shout to them, give them angry looks, drives aggressively and so on. I would call sitting in traffic or just plainly driving during rush hour in jakarta is a world and human deforestation, it pollutes the air, it creates noise, it makes the city looks ugly, and it makes us unhappy. 

its the most unsustainable thing that's possibly happening in our lovely-yet much hated J-topolis.

Jakarta should just disintegrate i say, just break into smaller pieces, decentralize, home-office is the way to go, mobile offices. 
oor ooorrrr oorrrr..... Maybe the government should bring becak back i reckon, put all the becaks in the business district, its quitter, it doesn't pollute, its friendlier to the both environment and the people. 
People who pedals becaks in Jogjakarta greet one another whenever they pass another becak. what strikes me is the level of stillness and somewhat peaceful sensation it creates. 

Maybe we should just bring the becak back? how if we can replace the smoke-choking metro mini and kopaja, and replace them with becaks again? in the end you will be traveling on a speed that doesn't exceed 10-15km/h anyways. 
Why not sit next to your friend (make the becak wider to accommodate 2 modern sized people) and feel the breeze in your face, see the vista not through a tinted window. Have a friendly chat over today's life, politics, and weather or what's up in town with the Becak driver.
Greet people as you drive pass them, or have a quick Teh-botol stop if the drive is more than 10mins. 

Imagine to have this just in the business district? if Jalan Sudirman or Kuningan has a backroad 10-20meters wide, only to accommodate pedestrian and a controlled number of Becaks., then they shold create a route that goes to shopping malls apart from the office buildings.

Design a modern Becak, one with enough roof to cover the passenger from the hot sun or the rain, a cup holder at the sides next to the arm rest to accommodate your needed Late or Frapuchino. Make the seat slightly wider and bigger to accommodate larger people or so that they can carry 2 people in comfort. Design the exterior nicely or just improvise from the existing Becak from Jogja which already has a nice design. 
Add a small compartment at the back for small luggage or laptop bags, and an attached solar powered light and fan would do the job, or even an additional radio just for the news or small Javanese gamelan? instead of the trashy top 40s that we can hear everywhere. 

Anyways, sometime when we're thinking far ahead to be better and better, looking back can always be a good option.


1 comment:

  1. I lay down a challenge to you Alvin!

    Hire a posse of indonesian body guards and together with them run to work and film the whole thing.

    See if you can literally run faster than traffic. At the least it will be very entertaining. :P