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Jakarta eyes European buses for Transjakarta fleet

Publication Date : 08-05-2014


The Jakarta city administration is considering acquiring European-made buses to expand the Transjakarta fleet, following the fallout surrounding the delivery of faulty buses from China.

The Jakarta administration bought via bidding last year 644 Transjakarta buses from China. The procurement was questioned following media exposure on the poor condition of a number of the buses, which were not in line with the specifications set during the bidding.

Several components on the 15 newly shipped buses — 10 single buses and five articulated ones that were produced by China’s Ankai — were rust-ridden and damaged.

The damaged components included power-steering parts, engine mounts, machine pulleys and air filters. The buses’ water coolant tanks were leaking, windshields were broken, dashboard instruments were unscrewed and air-conditioning units were faulty.

Many passengers have also complained about Transjakarta’s poor service, since a number of buses have frequently developed engine trouble, while several others caught fire during their daily operations.

Two Transportation Agency officials have since been named suspects for irregularities during the bidding for the Chinese-made buses.

“We are thinking of buying [European] buses after the launch of the e-catalogue program. We are considering the costs based on [a bus’] lifetime. Let say a [Swedish-made] Scania bus runs for 20 to 30 years and costs less than 6 billion rupiah  (US$518,247), why buy a 3-billion rupiah bus with questionable quality? I’m not opposed to any particular brand. I only want the best for the city,” Ahok told reporters at his office on Wednesday.

Scania is scheduled to display some of its buses at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta on Thursday.

“We want to check it out. Mercedes [Benz] will probably join in next year. We want Transjakarta to use branded buses, and we have told this to the procurement agency. We prefer quality over price,” he said.

“A Scania bus that had been used for 20 years in Singapore was sold to a country in Africa so it could be used for another 10 years. If you want to buy a car, would you choose one that could only be used for three to four years?” Ahok said.

The city administration has implemented the so-called e-catalogue program to allow direct procurement and cut the often long, convoluted tender process.

Earlier this year, the City Council endorsed a draft bylaw on city-owned bus rapid transit system operator PT Transjakarta. Previously, Transjakarta’s bus system was run by a unit under the auspices of the Jakarta Transportation Agency.

The city administration has appointed the members for its board of directors. However, the directors have yet to work effectively, as the company has not yet held its first general shareholders’ meeting.

Ahok said the meeting would be held sometime this month.

“We expect the general shareholders’ meeting to take place this May,” he said.

Ahok added that the city aimed to focus on improving infrastructure this year.

“We will probably postpone the bus procurement until next year and focus on improving all Transjakarta busways in the meantime,” he said.

Despite the city’s plans to procure imported buses, Ahok said the assembly work should be undertaken here.


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