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Landlinking Indonesia

Interview - June 18, 2014
Director General for Land Transportation at Indonesia’s Ministry of Transportation, H. Suroyo Alimoeso, talks to United world about the challenges of connecting the country’s vast archipelago
What are the core challenges your directorate is facing at the moment? 
The challenge is that the Directorate General of Land Transportation is the backbone of transport operations together with other modes of transportation: aviation, maritime and railways. We are facing the challenge of connecting all regions in Indonesia as well as improving public services.    
The Directorate General of Land Transport has 2 main areas of concern. The first area is traffic and road transport, including urban transport and land transport safety and secondly inland waterways and ferry transport connecting the different islands. 
Connectivity between the different islands is one of the challenges the Directorate General of Land Transport is facing.  To connect the eastern region with the western region of Indonesia, it has developed three routes of island waterways, which play a strategic role especially for short distance transport. The integration project of national highways and ferries terminals and ports is called Sabuk Nusantara and it will be accomplished soon.  
The southern route, which connects Aceh to Merauke, is already completed. It is made up of 5,330 kilometers of land roads and 1,600 kilometers of sea routes. This route is serviced by 115 ferries operating 11 crossing routes.
The Central route (Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua) will hopefully be finished by the end of this year. By 2017 the connection of the Nothern route should be completed.  
Another main challenge of land transportation is traffic caused by urban transport. In the greater Jakarta area, also known as the Jabodetabek area (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi) the authority lies with the regional government. Every part has its own regulation, which makes coordination very difficult, especially when it comes to handling traffic jams.
Public transport has become the responsiblity of the government. One of the policies of the government at the moment is the Bus Rapid Transit System in 15 major cities around Indonesia, in order to move people away from transport by cars and motorcycles and encourage them to start using the buses. This system falls under the coordination of the Ministry of Transportation. The Directorat General of Land Transport is responsible for the organization of a system that provides vehicle availibility. We are also responsible for multimodal transport, meaning we connect airports and terminals by bus. 
Another challenge is the regional commitment of ASEAN member states to create the Asean Economic Community 2015 as a free area of trade to increase regional competitiveness.  
What is your strategy to you encourage people to use public transport rather than private vehicles?
It is not easy to change behaviour. As an undeveloped country, people in Indonesia were not used to public transport at first. By 1997, once our people started to earn more, they were able to afford cars and motorcycles. 
The traffic issues in large cities including Jakarta are difficult to tackle abd the strategies to face them are complex with many sectors being involved. From the view of land transportation, the most important thing is to revitalize the condition of public transport. 
In my opinion what we need is a regulation on public transport. Because if we had such a regulation, we could make a difference. Now to improve the situation on the road, we are trying to develop a  transport system that is efficient. We also want to learn about people’s  destinations and find out what they expect of transportation in order to provide solutions. 
We have already started the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit System, which I have mentioned before, as a public transport service. It is important in this case to consider the availibility of buses, the organization of the routes and the setting of attractive tariffs.
How do you encourage safety on the road?
We have a 5 pillar approach: good management of road safety, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, road users safety and the accident response and victim assistance. In order to achieve this our law enforcement should be firm. One of the tasks of the Directorat General of Land Transport in regards to safety on the road is on how to ensure vehicles are roadworthy. Public transport has to be roadworthy.
In coordination with the police we provide traffic safety training. We educate and counsel drivers of public transport twice a year on the best way to act in traffic. Secondly, every year the award “Wahana Tata Nugraha” is given to the cities that are able to manage public transport and traffic well. The award winners will also receive an aditional allocation fund, that can be used for this purpose, for example for the establishment of a safe school zone.
How does the MP3EI master plan effect land transport in Indonesia?

The development of transport infrastructures as a national priority is a prime concern of central government. With MP3EI economic development is mapped out in 6 economic corridors: Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali/Nusa Tenggara Barat, Maluku and Papua.
The implementation of MP3EI involves connectivity, whether connectivity on land, at sea or in the air. To increase coonectivity, the government continuously develops transport infrastructure, including land transportion in each corridor. The further development of land infrastructures is already targeted in MP3EI-programs. 
Within the Directorate General of Land Transport how do you develop human resources and what is your regional structure?
The Directorate General of Land Transport is assisted by the Secretariat of the Directorate General and technically assisted  by 4 directorates: Directorate of Road Transport and Traffic, Directorate Inland Waterways and Ferry Transport, Directorate of Urban Transport System and Directorate of Land Transport Safety. The way to develop human resources is through study and special courses. Most of the people working at the Directorate General have masters degrees. 
Regionally the Directorate General is assisted by 4 offices in the field of traffic, road transport, rivers and lakes that represent 4 to 7 provinces. Then there are 4 offices that especially handle island waterways. Next to that in the field of development, we coordinate with 34 provinces and 550 regencies and cities. 

Could you give a closing remark to our readers?

I want to thank you for this interview and I hope it will increase the understanding of land transport development in Indonesia. I also hope that readers can assist us in solving land transport issues in Indonesia. 
I also hope that the information provided will encourage foreign investors not only to invest in Java, but also outside of this island. There are many opportunities all over the country in different sectors.