Saturday, 14 May 2011

Jakarta's inner city toll road truck ban

The Jakarta Post reports about the relative success of a truck ban imposed on the Jakarta inner city toll road. In order to reduce congestion, trucks were banned on the route between 5am and 10pm for the period of the ASEAN Summit hosted in the city (ASEAN is the Association of South East Asian Nations). It has improved traffic flow on the road, but has significantly increased costs for freight, including travel times and operating costs.

A better obvious answer is to increase tolls to manage demand at peak times. Not only trucks should be subject to demand management, but also cars, taxis and buses. Then pricing would mean those road users that most value the road space will decide when the use it. Although it should be combined with a shift to electronic free flow tolling to eliminate toll booth bottlenecks. The Jakarta Post thinks that the policy is a good start, but not enough. I think that moves towards congestion pricing may be one of the appropriate next steps, to replace such a ban.

UPDATE:  Jakarta's trucking industry is planning a strike to protest the ban, claiming it has halved their revenues says the Jakarta Globe.   They claimed they made US$175 a day before the ban.  The strike is planned for next Friday 20 May and will mean no service to the Port of Tanjung Priok.   Like I said, the solution for Jakarta should be a combination of moving to electronic free flow technology, congestion pricing on the toll road and congestion pricing for inner city Jakarta, with the money reinvested in upgrading traffic management and fixing bottlenecks.

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