Jakarta. The capital city's notorious traffic jams remain the biggest threat to the timeliness of the 2018 Asian Games in August, and its organizing committee has suggested that the government should close all schools in Jakarta and adjust office hours to ease traffic.
"We have to figure out how to reduce congestion in Jakarta by 20-30 percent. One of the ways is to suspend all schools and adjust office hours, but it is not under our authority," chairman of the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (Inasgoc) Erick Thohir said on Friday (09/02).
He said the move was necessary to ensure that the games' athletes and officials could reach their arenas within 30 minutes. Thousands of athletes and sports officials are scheduled to take part in 462 events at 40 sports venues in Jakarta and South Sumatra's Palembang from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.
Residents of Jakarta spent 55 hours or 17 percent of their driving time per year in traffic jams, according to a 2017 study by American research company Inrix. This makes the city 22nd worst in terms of traffic, after Chicago, Mexico City, Bangkok, Paris and Los Angeles.
Although Inasgoc buses will use TranJakarta lanes and special lanes on toll roads, according to the committee's study a journey from Wisma Athletes in Kemayoran to the Gelora Bung Karno complex in Senayan can take more than an hour if it rains.
"We have to take extreme steps of adjusting office hours and school holidays. I hope the congestion could be reduced by 30 percent, with these steps it will be already 20 percent, which is good enough," Erick said.
Special Asian Games vehicles for athletes, according to Erick, will be equipped with stickers allowing them to use the TransJakarta lanes.
However, Inasgoc has not done it during a trial which is taking place in Jakarta on Feb. 8-15.
The 2018 Asian Games Trial Championship is attended by 502 athletes and officials from 18 countries, as well as 532 international journalists.