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NEWS UPDATES 11 October 2010

Traffic jams cost money

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Jakarta's unprecedented traffic jams cost money as millions of cars burn gas as they sit motionless, and millions of residents breath in noxious fumes.

There is apparently no solution to this problem. Many say their gas bill has doubk\led.

During the Idul Fitri holiday last month, when many residents were still in their hometowns, fuel bilsl dropped dramatically.

Christina Veronika, 32, who started taking a motorcycle taxi between her home in Kota, West Jakarta, and her workplace in Kuningan, South Jakarta, five months ago because of traffic, said she has been experiencing breathing problems since she stopped going by car.

About two months ago, Christina saw a doctor about her breathing problem, and ended up spending Rp 350,000 for the consultation and medicine.

"The doctor said I had an inflammation in my throat. He said it was probably caused by pollution."

The Economist reported that Jakarta is the world's largest city without a rapid transportation system.

With millions of people living in the city, and buses - most of them clapped out - the only form of public transport, it is estimated that traffic moves at an average speed of 13 kilometers per hour in Jakarta, compared with 19 kilometers per hour in London. The magazine reported that loose consumer credit and fuel subsidies are boosting car ownership by 10-15 percent a year.

The Presidential Work Unit for Development Monitoring and Control recently reported that each year Jakarta lost Rp 12.8 trillion (US$1.43 billion) as a result of severe traffic congestion. The World Bank puts that figure at Rp 43 trillion a year.

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