by Abu Hanifah
JAKARTA, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia is facing a dilemma in promoting its Low Cost Green Car (LCGC) program, aimed at providing affordable and environmental-friendly cars to the people, as severe traffic jams have been seen in the capital city due to increasing number of private cars that waste some 12.8 trillion rupiah (about 1.1 billion U.S. dollars) per year.
The anxiety on more severe traffic jams in the capital city was expressed by Governor Joko Widodo who opposed the policy that has been promoted by the industry ministry in the last few years.
Joko Widodo said that the policy was not in line with Jakarta administration office's task of easing the already-crowded street and costly severe traffic jams in the capital city, which is the center of the country's administration and business.
He had conveyed his objection on such a policy to Vice President Boediono, but the latter replied recently that opposing the policy was not necessary as the automotive industry has been projected as the backbone of the country's industry.
"The correct one is inexpensive transportation, not inexpensive cars. We have to push forward the creation of comfortable and inexpensive public transport system. This is what people want, not inexpensive cars," Joko Widodo said on the sidelines of ASEAN cities governor and majors meeting here on Thursday.
He doubted the explanation by the vice president who said sales of the LCGCs would be focused in regions that apparently have lesser car population than in the capital city.
"Let's see what the fact says. Most buyers of new cars in Indonesia came from Jakarta and outskirt areas," he said, responding to the vice president's explanation.
Joko said that his administration is now taking serious measures to address the severe traffic jams in the capital city caused by enormous number of private cars.
One of his plans is to encourage people to use public transport vehicles. He, however, said that the plan faces problems with complicated bureaucracy system in procuring thousands of buses to serve the city's transport system.
His other plans were to charge private car owners on certain main roads in the city, called Electronic Road Payment (ERP) system, and introduce high parking fares for private cars. Joko also planned to construct Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) transportation system in the city, expected to commence operation in 2016.
Dono Boestami, a senior official at the firm assigned to construct the MRT system in Jakarta, said earlier that traffic jams in the capital city cost some 12.8 trillion rupiah (about 1.1 billion U.S. dollars) per year due to wasted fuel and system.
"Should there is no transportation system improvement, the cost may rise up to 65 trillion rupiah (5.8 billion U.S. dollars) by 2020," he warned.
Jakarta saw the launching of LCGCs manufactured by Indonesian plants of Japanese car manufacturers on Sept. 9 with initial types of Toyota Agya and Daihatsu Ayla. More types of LCGCs would be launched later by other Japanese car manufacturers in Indonesia.
The launching of those cars were quickly gaining huge response from the public who ordered to buy those cars even they have to wait the delivery of those cars in months from the manufacturers. Reports said that 14,000 units have been ordered by enthusiastic buyers, or equating to the production capacity of the car manufacturers until the end of the year.
The LCGC is defined as cars with displacement of below 1,000 cc and has fuel-efficiency aspect capability, as it is required to be able to run 20 km for one liter of fuel. Each unit is sold at prices ranging from 90 million to 120 million rupiah (8,000-10,000 U.S. dollars).
The production of LCGC is also required to adopt more locally- produced car components, with an aim of boosting the nation's industry.