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City must be open to various road pricing options: Experts

by October 31, 2016 General

As debates continue on the technology and bidding process for an Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system in Jakarta, experts have stressed the need to consider and compare different options.

University of Indonesia (UI) transportation expert Alvinsyah said the city administration could take a look at ERP systems implemented in cities like Singapore, Stockholm and London.

“We need to look at the systems in these cities, because they have successfully implemented ERP,” Alvinsyah said.

Singapore currently uses dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) technology for its ERP. However, according to Singapore’s Land Transport Authority, the government will shift to a global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based ERP system, which will be operational from 2020.

With DSRC, each vehicle carries a transponder that deducts payments when it passes a gantry.

Meanwhile, Stockholm and London use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) for their road pricing system.

The ANPR technology uses image recognition to read vehicle registration plates.

The city administration has been planning to implement ERP in Jakarta since 2013. However, the plan has run up against hurdles, including a troubled bidding process and incomplete electronic registration identification (ERI), which the database requires in order to charge vehicle owners passing a road.

The bidding process for two locations — Jl. Sudirman in South Jakarta to Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta and Jl. Rasuna Said in South Jakarta — finally kicked off this year. The Jakarta Electronic Procurement Service agency (LPSE) said 235 bidders had registered for the project as of Saturday.

The choice of ERP technology has sparked controversy after the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) pointed to alleged violation of Law No. 5/1999 on monopoly and unfair business competition on Gubernatorial Regulation No. 149/2016 on ERP.

The commission said that the regulation determined the DSRC system with a frequency of 5.8 GHz as the only technology to be used by private companies wishing to place a bid for the ERP project.

KPPU chairman Syarkawi Raud said allowing only one technology potentially violated the law on monopoly and unfair business competition by limiting the number of companies that can participate.

“There are many other technologies that can be applied for ERP, including radio frequency identification [RFID], global positioning system [GPS], ANPR and a combination of DSRC and ANPR,” he said.

Jakarta Transportation Council (DTKJ) chairwoman Ellen Tangkudung said the bidding could be open for one technology or many.

“However, if we want to add more technologies, they should be tested first to see whether they are suitable for Jakarta roads or not,” she said, adding that it would be a problem if the winner did not have suitable technology.

Ellen said Jakarta had tested the DSRC technology. “I think it is better to evaluate that system and see whether it is suitable for us,” she said.

Regarding the monopoly allegation, Ellen said many companies could participate in the bidding, so there was no problem.

Jakarta Transportation Agency deputy head Sigit Wijatmoko said he appreciated the KPPU’s input regarding the ERP tender.

“We will invite the commission to the focus group discussion regarding the database and law enforcement of ERP on Nov. 9,” he said in a text message.