Now we have settled down to what will be (again) a challenging year, we really need to look for the positive elements we have in our lives and take special care to find things we can change for the better – and do them!

At the macro-city level we can see that the real estate developers have got the capital, the vision, the technology and the organization to make world class malls, hotels, apartments and office buildings. Indonesia also has some wonderful architects but they are not always used by these super-efficient developers who (still) prefer to create cost saving structures rather than beautiful ones. (There are some exceptions – but not many).

The problem is that immediately outside these international standard buildings are pavements, sidewalks and gutters that are still using 1960s technology, which has a self destruct period of about 6 months, resulting in unsightly, unsafe and embarrassing places to walk. Then just past the tattered and torn pavements are the potholed and pitted roads, where drain-covers and manholes are mandatorial installed either 10cm below road level or 10cm above creating danger and damage both ways!

But where was I? Oh yes, the power of the positive! So how do we get the technology and the expertise of the private sector into the public sector? That would seem to me to be a major step forward. Unfortunately, it seems the opposite is happening with the heavily favoured public sector contractors and developers going into the private sector with malls, apartments and hotels even though the existing companies are already doing very well. Maybe this needs another look by the powers that be?

2018 is set to be a very positive year for Jakarta’s transport scene through (I hope!) with the opening of the Simatupang – Depok toll road, the Kuningan – Mampang underpass, the LRT to the airport fully operational and several others (Manggarai perhaps?) being completed and hours of waiting in gas-guzzling/polluting cars and trucks eliminated. Yeah!

But to me the one thing the government could do to really help the flow of traffic in Jakarta – today, right now – without any investment or construction or planning or organization – is to simply remove all toll gates, where without exception, lines of traffic are constantly and annoyingly delayed so that some lucky company makes a profit.

I don’t deny them the right to a good return on investment but honestly, isn’t there a better way? Rather than “forcing” us to get e-toll cards (we did), why not make the use of toll roads included in the road tax annually and the government pay the toll operators direct? We just drive, without stopping, through this great country.

Now there’s a positive way to improve 2018!

Alistair Speirs

Alistair Speirs

Alistair has been in the publishing, advertising and PR business for 25 years. He started NOW! Magazines as the region’s preferred community magazine.