I have been watching the construction of the new Antasari Flyover for several months now in South Jakarta. I have watched in awe as the beams were erected and the workers were lit up in the night sky standing on metail railings. Coming from Australia where Work Safety practices mean that there are standards to which all builders must follow, it is frightening to see the workers without helmets or any shoes on in most cases, and just bambboo scaffolding as they work all through the night. I have often wondered how many work place accidents happen here that I never hear about, or perhaps Indonesians know something we don’t and there aren’t any fatalities or injuries, but I don’t believe this could be possible?
It has been magical to see the progress and also frustrating during the day as the traffic has become so chaotic with detours and extra congestion in Jakarta’s narrow back streets. It can take hours to travel only a short distance and even catching ojeks can mean that you can be stuck in gridlock as footpaths and every spare piece of road is crammed with commuters.
One thing that really confuses me about this new flyover is that it is being built to help with the ridiculous traffic on Jakarta’s roads, but in Kemang they have built a whole new village with a new school and apartments which is only going to add to the current problem. I thought the aim was to ease the traffic flow, but instead they are building new places that will bring extra traffic to the area which surely will create new problems for residents of this city.
It would be great to see some money go into the upgrade of public transport here, as travel on the current kopaja, metro mini’s and angkots hardly makes it appealing for people to take public transport rather than congesting the roads with private car owners. Apart from the Transjakarta buses, these vehicles currently have no a/c which means that you will arrive at your destination hot and sweaty and tired, and full of cigarette smoke from people travelling beside you which hardly makes for a pleasant journey. Most of the time the metro mini’s don’t even come to a complete stop when you want to get off which means you have to jump and pray that you will avoid passing traffic or falling flat on your face after your trip. At 8 months pregnant even my friend had to jump from a moving bus and I wonder how on earth do the elderly ever make the journey accident free? Added to the already packed transport there are buskers getting on and off which means having to scramble in your bag for any spare change you may have, and a feeling of intense guilt if you are not able to give something to everyone who asks.
On the plus side, I am happy to see that at least something is being done instead of just talking about it, and hopefully a balance can be found between private vehicles and public transport on the new flyover before the traffic here comes to a complete stand still.. Happy macet everyone..