Making public transportation a national strategic public service program

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Djoko Setijowarno Academic at Civil Engineering Unika Soegijapranata and Chair of the Advocacy and Society Sector, Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI)

IO – “Buy the Service” (BTS) is a system that can be applied to operate buses with service specifications, both in terms of quantity and quality. The government will pay operators based on tariffs for the services they provide, according to the number of kilometers they travel (Heru Sutomo, 2007).

Starting in 2020, the Directorate General of Land Transportation, Ministry of Transportation will arrange public transportation services in five cities, namely Surakarta (4 corridors), Yogyakarta (3 corridors), Medan (5 corridors), Denpasar (4 corridors) and Palembang (3 corridors) employing the Buy The Service (BTS) scheme.

This is a continuation of the 2015-2019 National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJM) and the Strategic Plan (Renstra), Ministry of Transportation 2015-2019 that has yet to be implemented. Now in the 2019-2024 National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) it is stipulated as an Urban Mass Transportation System (SAUM) program.

In urban transportation planning, it is known as push-and-pull strategy, where central and local governments share a role. The area served by public transportation is agglomerated. The push strategy policy is exercised by the local government and the pull strategy by the central government.

Push strategies are carried out by local governments to encourage people to use public transportation. The local government manages the time and space for private vehicle access, namely, the regulation of road space and parking space arrangements.

Things that can be done by local governments to prepare to accept the presence of public transportation with BTS schemes are as follows: bus stop preparation which can be in the form of bus stops, existing stops or private cooperation (corporate social responsibility/CSR or utilizing stops as advertising media). Second, the study of benefits of the program, survey of traffic conditions, impact on public spending, the level of community satisfaction and community expectations.

Third, socializing. The socialization can take the form of a campaign to return to public transportation and the procedure to promote public transportation. Fourth, a priority policy: it is hoped that there is a policy to prioritize public transportation so that it delivers better service than private transportation. The policy can be in the form of operational restrictions on private vehicles, the application of expensive parking fees in the city center, paid roads, progressive taxation of private vehicles, public transport lanes, bus priority at intersections, and contraflow.

The city of Surakarta will implement a contraflow policy for public transportation on Jalan Slamet Riyadi along 2.7 kilometers. Surakarta might be the first city in Indonesia to operate public transportation in the contraflow mode.

The pull strategy is carried out by the Central Government to attract the public to use public transportation (buses). The government bears the risk and gives licenses to operators and prioritizes public transport for optimal service.

To oversee public transport operations, the management body will assist the government to monitor and evaluate the implementation of Minimum Service Standards (SPM) and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

Besides, there are technical requirements for public transportation operator auctions, namely, being able to own or provide the number of vehicles in the contract with the status of Ready for Operation (SGO), have a valid business permit/operating license for public transport, fulfill the requirements listed in the procurement document, and possess working capital of at least as much as operational costs, maintenance costs, overhead costs and tax costs for 3 months.

For implementation, a budget of IDR 250 billion (2020) will be provided, which will be directed to purchase services through technical assistance in 5 pilot cities, the construction of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and fleet management. The amount of budget allocated per region depends on the results of the Study of Planning Documents. The greater the budget allocated per region, the more comprehensive the implementation of revitalization can be in the city. Assistance is expected to be carried out for 4 years, with the aim to create sustainability for the transportation system that is built, as well as business certainty for the operator.

Buy The Service (BTS) scheme is designed to prioritize existing operators. However, the operator must be able to adjust to Minimum Service Standards (SPM) that have been set and meet auction requirements.

Subsidies provided by the Singapore Government for public transportation in 5 years (2010-2015) amounted to SG$ 14 billion or about SG$ 3 billion Singapore annually. For the next 5 years, it will amount to SG$ 26 billion. The average daily MRT and bus passengers numbered 1.33 million and 2.78 million in 2005. In 2015 it doubled to 2.89 million passengers per day for the MRT and rose one third to 3.8 million passengers for buses (Chia Jean, 2017). Public transportation subsidies are a necessity because public transportation is a basic need for the public.

The existence of adequate public transportation can have a big impact on the changing behavior and culture of the people. Besides, there is an economic loss if the public uses excessive numbers of private vehicles, such as traffic congestion, traffic accidents, decreasing green open space, and waste of fuel use. There is the potential for global warming from pollution, health problems, and acid rain as a result of excessive motor vehicle exhaust fumes.

The rapid increase in the use of motorized vehicles will certainly hurt the economy. The benefits are huge for saving the country’s finances if public transportation is reorganized. Therefore, the public transportation program should be included in the National Strategic Program (PSN) for Public Services. A National Strategic Program does not always have to be physical infrastructure.

A wide variety of road-based public transportation programs can be developed in the regions, especially in the most underdeveloped, outermost and border regions, which must receive special attention so that local economic growth can be even faster. In addition to providing infrastructure, it must also be accompanied by facilities and services. Rural Pioneer Transport, the distribution of the bus fleet to Local Government that has been independently willing to arrange public transportation, and Border Pioneer Transport are among the programs that can be developed.

Even subsidies are not always charged to state finances (APBN and APBD). If a public transportation management agency has been formed, it can seek subsidies from other sources.