IO – As the seat of government and business center of Indonesia, Jakarta is the country’s economic barometer. No wonder thus that many citizens are moving in to pursue a more prosperous life in the capital. According to Statistics Indonesia, there were 10.18 million residents of Jakarta in 2015, and this figure rose to 10.37 million by 2017. Thus, during the last two years, the number of residents increased on the average some 269 people per day or 11 per hour.
As ‘urban immigrants’ come to the capital looking for better income, the rise in population is directly proportional to the enormous pressure of private motor vehicle congestion. Massive production by automotive brands of the latest vehicle models continues in accordance with market demands. Jakarta roads are always jammed and traffic locks up, particularly during rush hour. The police seemed overwhelmed by this barrage of traffic.
In fact, aside from the massive flow of vehicles, the behavior of drivers is also to be blamed for traffic congestion. As it becomes common practice, drivers violating the rules of the road come to think it is acceptable to do so. Driving against traffic up a one-way street, running red lights, thoughtlessly stopping on the road and impeding the flow behind, overloading motorbikes’ capacity, even taking busway lanes and driving up onto the sidewalk. Ironically, in some cases, it is not only motorbike riders who demonstrate such bad behaviour: even car drivers give the same impression. Looking for a faster way to reach their destination is always at the top of their mind, without regard to others.
These drivers forget one key fact: their own safety and that of others. Thus, the countless number of traffic accidents resulting from wrong-headed people on the road. They seem to be ignorant of pedestrians or of fellow drivers’ welfare.
This does not even touch upon the evidence of reckless public transportation, such as Metro Mini, Angkot, Bajaj, Motorcycle Taxis (Ojek), and Car Taxis which often carelessly ignore other people’s safety. Of course, these factors will worsen Jakarta’s traffic conditions if Police Officers and City Government do not immediately take action against offenders. Moreover, as we know, the appearance of ‘Pak Ogah’ has been on the increase in recent years. They often become the guilty party and the reason why traffic congestion takes place at particular U-turn spots.
These drivers have to learn a lot about the rules of the road. In fact, if only these drivers could follow the rules, traffic congestion would be much less likely to occur. Poor attitudes of the drivers such as running the wrong way direction and ignoring signs cannot be justified. Following the Overton Window concept, if such transgressions always happen on a daily basis, the public will consider them as normal; hence they will embed them as a habit. And yes, changing these habits will be difficult if we are all too ignorant and do not take immediate action against them. (alen)