Sunday, August 10, 2008

Motorbikers' City: Sea of Motorbikes

Sea of Motorbikes 1

Sea of Motorbikes 2

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

As I wrote in my previous post, motorcycles or motorbikes are the main mode of private transportation in Bandung. As of 2007, motorbikes comprised about 55 percent (370,000 out of 670,000) of all registered motor vehicles in Bandung. This number is currently growing at about 25 percent per year. It is therefore not an exaggeration to say that Bandung is a motorbikers' city and to use the metaphor of sea for their huge number.

Although motorbike is arguably the most economical mode of transportation and the most agile to navigate the city's relatively small streets and roads, their existence is not without a problem. One of the biggest problems Bandung is facing today is the exponential growth of private motor vehicle ownership (not only motobikes but also cars) and the almost-zero growth of road lenghth. For a city of 167.29 square kilometers, Bandung only has about 1,169 kilometers of road (or only about 3.7 percent of the city's total area). I don't have any latest statistics on the growth of road lenghth, but as an example, in 2005, there was only 3.6 kilometers (2.6 percent) of new road being constructed. This condition has made the city more and more prone to traffic congestions, especially during the weekends or holiday seasons when about 1,500 cars per day flock the city from the neighboring cities like Jakarta.

Bandung certainly needs a more efficient public and mass transportation system. There have been talks going on about building a monorail MRT and improving the existing commuter train lines. But until an efficient mass transit system is in place, Bandung is and will still be facing the dire problem of traffic congestion and pollution.

7 comments:

USelaine said...

Very pertinent photos. The congestion question is tough. If roadways become comfortable to use, then fewer people will use mass transit when it comes. If mass transit never comes, people spew more pollution into the air with slower progress to their destinations. The global fashion to put offices and commercial centers far from residential areas is part of the equation. There's nothing really natural about traveling miles each day to work, it's just what we do. We should rethink those habits and land use patterns.

Laurie said...

These photographs are amazing.

Steve Buser said...

Still, all those motobikes take up a lot less space that the same number of cars would. And that doesn't take into account the contribution to the economy the motorbikes are making by saving gas and energy.

Virginia said...

I have a hard enough time finding my car in the Wal Mart parking lot. I would NEVER be able to locate my Harley in this sea of bikes!

Tine said...

After i saw this picture, i believed that Bandung people tend to choose motorcycles as their transportation media. This fact shows that public transportation medias, such as "angkot" or "bis kota" are now considered inefficient. That's why the growth of the motorcycles number is increasing rapidly. It is not a matter of money that they have to spend, but rather to the time needed by them. The time is more valuable than the money...

babooshka said...

This looks like my island when the Road Races are on. Even on this island we have a car rush hour and commuting. Ridiculous for the size of it. It was a revelation to see all those bikes and to find out just how popular they are there.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I am anonymous and I come from Korea but I was born in Bandung! I am 11 and I am studying in Bandung International School. My school's topic is abount Bandung or Indonesia's organisations, transportation system, security system, health and education associations and more. Your blog has helped me so much!I really want to put information about you in the presentation. I hope it is okay!