Jokowi Wants to Save Billions Lost to Infamous Jakarta Traffic

(Bloomberg) -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo is on a mission to save billions of dollars lost to Jakarta’s notorious traffic congestion.

Widodo, known as Jokowi, held a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and ordered officials to tackle the worsening traffic bottleneck in the Greater Jakarta area that authorities estimate causes about 65 trillion rupiah ($4.6 billion) of annual economic losses. The president also asked ministers to take steps to integrate various modes of transport including the soon-to-be started metro rail and light rail transit with the existing services.

Jokowi Wants to Save Billions Lost to Infamous Jakarta Traffic

With an urban area that is home to more than 30 million people, Jakarta generates almost a fifth of Indonesia’s annual gross domestic product, but the growth of traffic has outpaced the building of new roads. While authorities have experimented with rules on car-pooling and restricted vehicle access to the city’s main streets, the traffic congestion has increased in recent years, prompting Jokowi to accelerate building of the underground Mass Rapid Transit system that’s been in the making for decades.

“We have to have the courage to act, courage to design, so that everything can be completed, so that the 65 trillion rupiah can become goods and not smoke that fills the city,” Jokowi said. With greater integration of transport services “the cars on the road can really be reduced on a large scale," an official statement cited the president as saying.

Jakarta will topple Tokyo as the world’s most populous city by 2030 with 35.6 million, according to Euromonitor International. The population boom will bring challenges to Jakarta, where traffic was ranked as the world’s third worst in TomTom’s congestion index.

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