After previously failing to convince workers and employers to modify their work schedules to alleviate the city’s chronic traffic problems, the Jakarta administration has once again started a conversation about staggering work schedules to alleviate the infamous traffic jams in the capital.
Jakarta acting governor Heru Budi Hartono suggested that private office workers start the morning at two different times, 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., claiming that such an adjustment could reduce morning traffic by at least 30 percent. .
“Most office workers (in the downtown area of) Thamrin and Gatot Subroto start their workday at 8 am. If half of them start their day later, morning traffic can be reduced by 30 percent,” Heru was quoted as saying Tuesday by Kompas.com.
Heru said the city administration would hold a discussion on the staggered working hours plan with experts and stakeholders.
The Jakarta authority had proposed a similar staggered working hours scheme in July last year, suggesting that some office workers change their work schedules to start at 10 or 11 a.m. or even shift their hours to the afternoon or evening.
However, the plan was strongly opposed by the Indonesian Confederation of Trade Unions (KSPI) and the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo), arguing that the arrangement would disrupt the biological rhythms of employees and reduce their productivity at work.
They were also skeptical about the effectiveness of the staggered hours scheme in reducing traffic congestion, claiming that changing work schedules just a few hours apart would have little impact on traffic.
After conducting months of discussion with various stakeholders, Jakarta Transport Agency Director Syafrin Liputo said in February that city officials would not impose any regulations on staggered working hours and would grant the authority to determine the work schedules of office workers to their employers. ”
A large part of the office workers working in Jakarta come from the satellite cities, so the Jakarta administration alone cannot determine their working hours,” Syafrin said at the time.
Persistent traffic problems Jakarta has long struggled with severe traffic congestion, with more than 22 million motor vehicles plying its highways and millions of workers commuting daily from its satellite cities.
In 2017, Jakarta was ranked the fourth most congested city in the world, according to Dutch location technology company TomTom.
Its ranking has improved since then, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, as schools closed and people were forced to work from home to slow the spread of the virus.
A 2021 TomTom report ranked Jakarta as the 46th most congested city in the world. The city was ranked 37th in 2020 and 10th in 2019.
But as mobility slowly returns to pre-pandemic levels in response to plummeting Covid-19 cases and the easing of restrictions, heavy congestion has returned to the capital.
A 2022 TomTom report revealed that Jakarta was the 29th most congested city in the world last year, rising 17 places from the 2021 ranking.
City officials have carried out various efforts to stem the return of congestion, including by enforcing an odd and even license plate policy on Jakarta’s 25 major thoroughfares.
Introduced in 2016, the odd and even policy prevents vehicles from driving on certain roads on certain days based on the last digit of their license plates and the day of the month.
On an odd day, vehicles with license plates ending in an odd number can drive on the road and vice versa on even days. Opposition persists Criticism has returned to the Jakarta administration’s new plan to impose staggered working hours.
Some workers have taken to social media to say that instead of imposing staggered work hours, it would be better if the city administration issued a regulation requiring non-essential workers to work from home or carry out a hybrid work model. .
William Aditya Sarana, a councilor for the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), argued that the staggered working hours policy would be difficult to enforce and monitor.
“Although the idea is good, it would be difficult to execute and follow it up. There are hundreds of offices in Jakarta, the policy would be too complex to implement,” William said in a statement on Monday.
“Instead of disrupting office worker schedules, it is better to impose a policy that requires offices to enforce remote or hybrid work models,” he added.
Transportation expert Harya S. Dillon expressed doubt about the effectiveness of the proposed policy and suggested that the city maintain some level of remote or hybrid work as has been done in recent years.
“The administration could also carry out a travel demand management strategy, by building large-scale park-and-ride facilities around public transportation stations and increasing parking fees at office buildings around the seasons at the same time,” Harya said Tuesday.
“This would encourage people to use public transport and discourage citizens from using private vehicles,” he added.