February 21, 2008


“Macet” is a word you’ll often hear in Jakarta. Macet means “Traffic Jam”.

Traffic jams occur daily in Jakarta. During the weekdays, you will encounter a traffic jam at least 2 times a day : in the morning when everyone goes to work & during the evening when everyone rushes home.

My typical trip to the office takes 1 hour which normally, without any traffic jam, would only take about half an hour. Therefore, many people prefer to go to work at 6:00 to avoid the rush hour and then go home after 8 o’clock.

Besides these traffic jams, also expect to be caught in traffic during & after heavy rain. After it rains, due to poor drainage system, puddles of water gather on the side of the road making it difficult for cars and motorcycles to pass by thus creating bottlenecks.

But the main reason traffic jams occur daily in Jakarta, is simply because there are too many cars/motorcycles on the road. Jakarta is a major city with an estimated population of 8 million people. However, during the day, this number swells because of all the people commuting from the surrounding cities (Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi), which is why greater Jakarta is often called “JaBoDeTaBek”. The population of greater Jakarta is around 18 million people.

The officials are very aware of this problem and have tried several remedies.

Since 1994, a 3-in-1 policy was implemented for the main roads in Jakarta’s central business district (Jl. Sudirman, Jl. Thamrin and Jl. Gatot Subroto – “Jl.” is the abbreviation for “Jalan”, which means “Street”). This policy states that a car passing through these main roads, must at least carry 3 passengers. Currently, this policy applies only weekdays from 07:00 – 10:00 in the morning and 16:30 – 19:00 in the evening. This seems to be a good idea, however, it actually flourised an informal market of mainly woman and children who offer themselves to be passengers by charging a fee of Rp. 5.000,-. This “occupation” is called “Joki”. You can find a joki near the entrances to the 3-in-1 area.

Another effort of the government, is by fixing Jakarta’s public transportation system by building Busways. Public transportation in Jakarta is not convenient yet, the busses are mainly not well-maintained and not air-conditioned, alienating those who would otherwise want to swap their personal vehicle for public transportation.
The first Busway was officially launched in 2004 from Blok M bus terminal to Kota. Since then, several routes have been added with a few more in progress.

This is a step forward, although to date, the busways seem to have little impact in solving the macet problem. So, what should the government do then?

I’m not going to answer here, otherwise this blog is turning out to be too serious!! What I personally can recommend to you, is to always have your favorite CDs in your car as company during macet and to always calculate encountering macet when you are going to make an appointment. In Jakarta, be a little tolerant when someone is a bit late, even the ones who are very punctual will find themselves at least once late because of “macetttttttttttttttttttt”…….


Macet said...

Hi there, congrats for your blog.
I got so mad because of macet, I even created a blog just to talk about traffic jams.
Take a peek:

and tell me what you think

All the best for the rain season, starting off now if I'm not mistaken !

Fitri said...

Thanks for dropping by! Yup, it will be raining days on end soon..so enjoy the sunshine now :)

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