Effective subsidies for Jabodetabek Commuter Line

Djoko Setijowarno, Academician at the Civil Engineering Program, Soegijapranata Catholic University

Jakarta, IO – Public transportation subsidies are, ideally, provided for people taking public transportation to work. They can be differentiated – or not– depending on the Government’s political will and the readiness of the existing budget. 

Public transportation services for the Trans Jateng Bus and the Trans Semarang Bus have implemented fare differences for the public, school students, university students, workers and the elderly. It seems that it has been running well without any significant issues. In fact, blue-collar workers are particularly content with the special rate, because it can lower their transportation costs, going to work. 

The public service obligation (PSO) contract for Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi) Commuter Line (KRL) in 2022 is IDR 1.8 trillion and will decrease in 2023 to IDR 1.6 trillion. Similarly, the total PSO in 2022 is IDR 2.8 trillion and will drop to IDR 2.5 trillion in 2023. Sixty-four percent of the total value of the Railway PSO is given to Jabodetabek KRL PSO. 

Compare this to the subsidies for the 3T (outermost, remote and underdeveloped) regions and border regions in Indonesia with their “pioneer bus” that only receives IDR 177 billion (327 routes). It is only about one-tenth of the Jabodetabek Commuter PSO. The subsidies for pioneer ferry transportation at 273 crossings are only IDR 584 billion. Urban transportation in ten cities only totals IDR 500 billion. 

The allocation of PSO funds for fiscal year 2023 is prioritized for Commuter Line and Short Distance Economy Trains, because most people use them for daily activities, hoping that more citizens will use the trains, eventually reducing the highway load. 

Jabodetabek KRL fare might be cheap, but the transportation cost from the place of residence to the train station (first mile), and the cost from the station to the point of destination can be higher. What needs to be factored in is the total cost from home to destination, which should not exceed 10 percent of monthly income. The World Bank’s Policy Research Working Paper 4440 states that the proper transportation spending for the public is a maximum of 10 percent of their monthly salary. The World Bank study is based on research from countries in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands in 2007.