Jakarta, with four-million people, is facing problems in trying to modernise the city's transport system.?
GV top view of Jakarta traffic
GV crowd bus
GV girls taking betjak (4 shots)
GV passenger paying money
GV traffic sign for betjak
GV motorised betjak (2 shots)
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Background: Jakarta, with four-million people, is facing problems in trying to modernise the city's transport system. Taxis are few and expensive; buses are old and overcrowded.
Still one of the most popular forms of transports in the Indonesian capital is the betjak -- a two-seater tricycle. For many people, they are the only transport around the city's sprawling suburbs or kampongs. And they are the only transport that many can afford.
Hearly one-million people rely on the betjaks. But the city government, under a plan started as long ago as 1958 and reinforced under the current administration of Governor Sadikin, is trying to eliminate them.
Officials say the betjak are a hazard on Jakarta's improved one-way road system which has speeded up traffic flow in the capital. The betjak are an enticement for poor Javanese farmers to migrate to the already over-crowded city.
Next year, betjak will be banned completely from Jakarta except for a few licensed to operate as a tourist attraction like the rickshaws of Hongkong and Singapore. In their place, the authorities are allowing motorised betjak.
The motorised versions are Italian motor-scooters carrying two passengers, three-wheelers specially make in Japan but now out of production in that country and a unit converted from a Japanese motorcycle.
While a pedal betjak costs only 100 dollars (US) to buy, the motorised versions sell for around 3,000 dollars (US) -- a price few Indonesians can afford.
And few people living in Jakarta can afford the cost of riding in the power models: three times as such for a short journey or ten times as much for a day's Hire.