How Democratic is the Implementation of Biometric Face Recognition Technology for Boarding Verification in Intercity Train Services?

an analysis from the case of PT. KAI.


Land transportation, especially train, has been a big part of the development of Indonesia. The railroad has become essential for Indonesia’s industry such as the mobility of goods and raw materials, and it has also become one of the cheapest inter-province public transportation with an average of passenger 6000 per month (Badan Pusat Statistik, no date). There are economic benefits, cost efficiency, and less environmental damage by choosing trains to travel over airplanes and private cars (Jones and Lucas, 2012). The increased need for good services and the need for innovation inspired Indonesia’s stated train service company called Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) to implement many innovations (Sejumlah Inovasi KAI Hadirkan pada Usia ke-77 Tahun, no date), but one of them is raising question and concern: the implementation of biometric face recognition as a method of passenger data verification in the boarding gate of the intercity train services. Using biometric face recognition increases the risk of passenger data violation, and the introduction lacks a democratic approach. This essay will analyze the implementation of the technology using the power over/power to frameworks, explore the incertitude of the implementations, and determine the best precaution for the performance to be more democratic.  

The reason behind biometric technology implementation

Since KAI is a state-owned company and the only service provider of inner and inter-city trains, the actions and implementation of the passengers must be accountable to the public. There are two main reasons for the new technology of biometrics for KAI passenger verification based on the KAI’s official website:

First, to lessen the boarding queue of the passengers at the boarding gate. While this reason seems fair and a solution to a problem, the research on the customer care account in X (formerly Twitter) shows no result that any account ever complained about boarding gate queues (Twitter search, 2023). The complaints through the KAI official social media account (@KAI121) before the implementation of face recognition are mainly about the narrow seating (Penumpang Kereta Jarak Jauh Keluhkan Kursi Sempit, no date), fully booked train (Wanita Ini Keluhkan Kapasitas Penumpang KAI Tanpa Kursi yang Membludak Sampai Sulit Bergerak, – Detik Sumsel – Halaman 2, no date), the price of the train tickets (Keluhkan Harga Tiket Kereta Api yang Tak Wajar, Pelanggan Ancam Beralih ke Bus, no date). This result shows that the queuing or process of boarding is not a top priority of passenger complaints. Moreover, there are reluctances from passengers to register their data on the biometric system because of the data security threat (Rahmada, Wientor, 2023).

Second, KAI claimed that installing biometric face recognition technology will boost security inside the station or wagon area. The implementation can be a surveillance tool to recognize the snatcher or abuser in the incident on the train. Selengkapnya (Teknologi Face Recognition KAI, no date. While this is a serious problem and the solution seems promising, face recognition accuracy is still a high concern for technology experts because of the high number of false positives and the algorithmic racial bias (Dauvergne, no date; Why new facial-recognition airport screenings are raising concerns | CU Boulder Today | University of Colorado Boulder, no date; Etzioni, 2018). Moreover, biometric Face recognition is not the primary tool for crime surveillance on the train. CCTVs are more likely to help to catch the culprit or become the main tools for evidence. However, the recent complaint from one passenger who lost their bag on the train shows that the CCTV checking cannot be done at the time of the event. The passenger and the security team will access the CCTV after the train arrives at the designated stations. The chance of the culprit escaping is higher when security checks the CCTV (Ghaisani, Alya, 2023). In other words, biometric face recognition depends on the other surveillance technology. If the other technology is not reliable, the purpose of better passenger security is also challenging to achieve.

What KAI did during the decision making of the biometric technology is not available for the public to see; the information about why KAI implemented biometric face recognition is on their official website, but not report on the urgency and evidence such as the number of queuing cases in the boarding gate or complaints from a passenger about it. That assumes that KAI makes face recognition without a reasonable justification or the public request. KAI asserts its power as a service provider to put coercion and manipulation (power over) (Etzioni, 2018) towards its passengers. KAI uses its capability to predetermine the technology without an open decision-making process with the important stakeholder: KAI’s passengers or, in other words, KAI exercising power over (Avelino, 2021) by knowing or ignoring the risk that can affect its passengers. Moreover, KAI is still allowing passenger who does not agree to register their data to the biometric. Still, KAI also manipulates passenger (nudge), where the passenger who decided to register face recognition will have a nearby boarding gate, while passengers who disagree must walk to the farther gate (Gate Selatan Stasiun Gambir Hanya Layani Boarding Pengenalan Wajah, no date; Face Recognition Boarding Dinilai Ganggu Privasi, KAI: Bisa Boarding Manual, no date).

Although the intention is not bad, and KAI wants to have an innovation of digitalization on the verification of its passenger, advances in technology comes with new uncertainties and failures, and such enthusiasm can bring more harm than good for the passengers (Jasanoff and Jasonoff, 2003; Pestre, 2009). Next, we will analyze the aspect of incertitude in the Face recognition biometric of KAI.

Aspect of incertitude of biometric face recognition technology

What can we know as the incertitude of adopting biometric face recognition as method of verification? In the second part of this essay, I will analyze the aspect of incertitude gathered from many sources in the Andy Stirling mini lecture below.

Figure 1: Aspect of Incertitude (Stirling, 2019)

The use of biometric face recognition has both salient possibilities defined and the possibilities undefined. Engineering failures such as algorithm errors, database errors, or camera errors can be categorized as risks because of the possibilities. Meanwhile, data breaching, data leaking, and fraudulent use of data can be a part of uncertainty. The data breaching can be empirical because there were 79 data breaching cases in Indonesia from 2019 to 2023. From all the cases, 35 out of 79 happened in 2023 alone (Deretan Kasus Kebocoran Data Pribadi di Indonesia Sepanjang 2022-2023, no date). For this matter, KAI claimed that the passenger’s data is good security information management and will update the security gradually (Terapkan Face Recognition, Boarding Kini Cukup Pindai Wajah, no date). However, KAI did not mention how and what is the security system. The public does not know whether they can delete the data from the KAI database, which means that the KAI wholly owns the data from biometrics, and the passenger does not have the power to use and protect their data.

The theoretical uncertainty on biometric face recognition is what the expert called ‘mounting the evidence of privacy violation and right abuses’ (Dauvergne, no date). The stolen data can be sold by criminals to any individual or entity that will benefit from the data for surveillance, politics, or disguise by using stolen identity. Moreover, Indonesia also has an online loan, where people can get a loan from banks, cooperatives, or finance start just by submitting a photo of their ID and their selfie using the ID (Apa Itu Pinjol: Arti, Jenis, no date). Theoretically, any individual or organization with biometric data can use the stolen ID and its user’s face to apply for an online loan. This intention can harm the passenger in the future and cause loss of finances and well-being.

Other possibilities that are undefined by KAI are ambiguity and ignorance. Both can be something that is not yet on decision-makers’ radar or simply ignored. To open the ambiguity of the technology, such as the constitution or the law, for anything related to the use of biometric face recognition in the future. We have such laws and regulations for racial discrimination, transgender rights, and religious discrimination, but what if the culprit of this discrimination is a machine or algorithm, for example (Why new facial-recognition airport screenings are raising concerns | CU Boulder Today | University of Colorado Boulder, no date). Because of the limitation of work and the research, this essay has yet to explore the other possibilities from many different points of view of the expert, passengers, and other possibilities from vulnerable communities such as people with disabilities. Furthermore, in industrial technology and innovation nowadays, the safety of new technologies is delegated chiefly to producers (Jasanoff and Jasonoff, 2003), but the implementer who adopts this technology and how to ensure the accountability of the adopter is rarely discussed; this becomes part of undefined possibilities in the aspect of incertitude.

How to democratize KAI’s new technology with the precaution of a practical framework.

In this section, I will explore what KAI can do to democratize the technology for their passenger using the ‘Precaution of Government Technology’ framework (Stirling, 2016). This precaution has two important promises. First, it is to ‘broaden the attention to the diversity of options’ and second, to ‘open up’ the ‘vibrant, mature, and robust policy over the implication of different interpretation and uncertainty’ (Stirling, 2016).

Figure 2: Precaution of Government Technology (Stirling, 2016)

KAI, as a state-owned company, needs to prepare the communication channels. This channel will help the communication and engagement with public stakeholders at every stage(Stirling, 2016). The first step is the screening. In this part, KAI explores the severe and unambiguous threat of biometric face recognition (Stirling, 2016) through open discussion with many data security and engineering experts, public transportation experts, and other public stakeholders. It seems necessary that the technical input of the problem developed independently of political influences (Jasanoff and Jasonoff, 2003). From the discussion, KAI can then create a ‘Presumption of Prevention,’ a restrictive management measure to mitigate all the risks and unambiguous threats.

In the second step, KAI opens up on the uncertain threat that may come up. First question: is there any scientific uncertainty? If yes, then KAI needs to do a ‘Precautionary Appraisal’ by doing the ‘transdisciplinary engagement, humility on science, targeted research, and pros and cons of the alternatives’ (Stirling, 2016) with the expert, scientist, transportation community, and public in general to see whether there are threat possibilities in the future. The second question is there a socio-politically ambiguous threat? If the answer is yes, the KAI will deliberate by doing the ‘citizen participation, stakeholder negotiation, inclusivity, accessibility, and representative’ (Stirling, 2016) in the process. The deliberation process will be more pervasive and heterogeneous, increasing the demands for greater public involvement (Jasanoff and Jasonoff, 2003). The participation also helps to open the democratic doors, although it is not the panacea. Participation is not immune from powerful interest. KAI’s public participation needs to be aware of the top-down exercise legitimation, acknowledge the power influencing participation transparency, and ensure the participation discussion impacts the policy and implementation (Rowe and Frewer, 2000).

If there is no ambiguous sociopolitic thread, KAI has to do the ‘Risk assessment’ for a ‘rigorous, peer-reviewed, evidence-based, transparent, professional, and comprehensive’ decision-making and implementation (Stirling, 2016). The technology must be based on actual evidence, and KAI can show how many complaints and the urgency of implementing biometric face recognition and that there is no other alternative that has more benefit and less risk for both the company and passengers. The technology must be peer-reviewed before implementation, and all discussion results are accessible. This practice is not contrary to Harrison (1993), who suggests that a company can be a ‘model of openness’ and urges the company to submit their activities to public scrutiny and always to open dialogue with interest groups and the public in general (Spiegelhalter and Riesch, 2011).

Each screening and appraisal step is communicated to the public and stakeholders. The KAI does the evaluation to balance the pros and costs, setting up tolerability, adjusting purpose, and finally choosing the technology, followed by setting up the standard of monitoring the implementation.


The decision by the state-owned train company to install biometric face recognition as a verificatory of the passenger, replacing the manual verification by humans, is raising questions on whether the company implemented the democratic approach to their chosen technology before the decision making. The KAI claimed that the decision was to alleviate the boarding queue and increase the security inside the station and train. However, the decision is not based on evidence, yet the implementation puts more risk to the passenger than the benefit.

The aspects of incertitude of KAI biometric face recognition explored many possibilities of threat from the implementation that are ignored and never been communicated and discussed with the public and interest stakeholders. To create a democratic approach to implementing the new technology in the boarding system, KAI can implement precaution by opening up the multi-perspectives from various stakeholders and the public. The precaution can help KAI to make a better and more democratic decision for their services.


Apa Itu Pinjol: Arti, Jenis, Cara Membedakan Pinjol Legal dan Ilegal (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Avelino, F. (2021) ‘Theories of power and social change. Power contestations and their implications for research on social change and innovation, Journal of Political Power, 14(3), pp. 425–448. Available at:

Badan Pusat Statistik (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Dauvergne, P. (no date) Identified, tracked, and profiled: the politics of resisting facial recognition technology.

Deretan Kasus Kebocoran Data Pribadi di Indonesia Sepanjang 2022-2023 (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Etzioni, A. (2018) China and the Lessons of Modern Surveillance Technology. Available at:

Face Recognition Boarding Dinilai Ganggu Privasi, KAI: Bisa Boarding Manual (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Gate Selatan Stasiun Gambir Hanya Layani Boarding Pengenalan Wajah (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Jasanoff, S. and Jasonoff, S. (2003) TECHNOLOGIES OF HUMILITY: CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNING SCIENCE, Source: Minerva. Available at:

Jones, P. and Lucas, K. (2012) ‘The social consequences of transport decision-making: Clarifying concepts, synthesising knowledge and assessing implications’, Journal of Transport Geography, 21, pp. 4–16. Available at:

Keluhkan Harga Tiket Kereta Api yang Tak Wajar, Pelanggan Ancam Beralih ke Bus (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Penumpang Kereta Jarak Jauh Keluhkan Kursi Sempit, Sebut Tak Nyaman Dengkul Beradu dengan Orang Lain (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Pestre, D. (2009) ‘Understanding the Forms of Government in Today’s Liberal and Democratic Societies: An Introduction’, 47(3), pp. 243–260. Available at:

Rowe, G. and Frewer, L.J. (2000) Public Participation Methods: A Framework for Evaluation.

Sejumlah Inovasi KAI Hadirkan pada Usia ke-77 Tahun (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Spiegelhalter, D.J. and Riesch, H. (2011) ‘Don’t know, can’t know: Embracing deeper uncertainties when analysing risks’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. Royal Society, pp. 4730–4750. Available at:

Stirling, A. (2016) Precaution in the Governance of Technology. Available at:

Stirling, A. (2019) Lecture slides: ‘Towards innovation democracies’ as part of the module Democratising Science and Technology’, University of Sussex. 

Teknologi Face Recognition KAI, Manfaat atau Mudarat? (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Terapkan Face Recognition, Boarding Kini Cukup Pindai Wajah (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Twitter. Com/wrahmada/status/1708646472542286084? S=52&t=x0w2by8bydrmwfeaxg5lcw (no date) X (formerly Twitter). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Twitter. Com/goyaaeo/status/1713161202371895362? S=52&t=x0w2by8bydrmwfeaxg5lcw (no date) X (formerly Twitter). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Twitter. Com/search? Q=antrian%20boarding%20%22boarding%22%(Antrian%20or%20boarding%20or%20stasiun)20%(To%3akai121)20%(%40kai121)20%20until%3a2020-08-01%20since%3a2022-08-01&src=typed_query (no date) X (formerly Twitter). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Wanita Ini Keluhkan Kapasitas Penumpang KAI Tanpa Kursi yang Membludak Sampai Sulit Bergerak, Gak Bahaya Ta? – Detik Sumsel – Halaman 2 (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023).

Why new facial-recognition airport screenings raise concerns | CU Boulder Today | University of Colorado Boulder (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 22 October 2023)

Writer’s note:
This essay created in October 2023, there may be updates on the technology and policy afterwards.

Policy Options to Reduce Traffic Congestion in Jakarta, Indonesia

A Policy Memo for Policy Analysis Module in Sustainable Development, MSc

Executive Summary

This report aims to support the provincial government of Jakarta in reducing traffic congestion that costs the Jakarta government more than IDR 100 T per year; it also slows productivity and lower expectancy for the resident.

The report started by assessing the problem symptoms and found there are negative externalities and public good as a market failure and rent-seeking as a government failure in the problem.

To address the symptom of the problem, there are four goals and five impact categories adapted from Weimer & Vining (2017),  such as economic efficiency, environmental impact, equity, and political feasibility.

Three policy options, including the status quo, are analyzed, and I recommend implementing the Congestion Charge to minimize traffic congestion. In addition, I strongly recommend ensuring the monitoring and evaluation of the policy is implemented regularly.

1       Problem Symptom

Jakarta was the 29th of the most congested city in the world[1], with a total vehicle of 26,2 million. Jakarta’s population in 2021 is 11.201.121[2] , and an additional 1,2 million workers from neighboring cities commute daily to Jakarta. In the peak hour (7 am to 10 pm), the average travel time is 20 to 31 minutes per 10km[3].

Traffic congestion in Jakarta not only extends travel time and wastes more fuel, but the number of vehicles also contributes to air pollution. In 2019, air pollution was very unhealthy; the pollution index is 213 (see annexes 1). Even though the report mentioned the main polluters for emission in DKI from the factory, vehicles, especially gasoline and diesel-fueled engine, undoubtedly exacerbated air pollution.

The road congestion problem has become a priority for the Province Government of Jakarta. As a result, the government has allocated 14,2 trillion rupiahs for congestion handling in the 2023 provincial government budgeting[4].

1.1       Market Failures & Government Failures

Jakarta congested traffic affected the residents and workers from the externalities and ill-design of public goods.

1.1.1      Cost inefficiency from fuel and time wasted.

Jakarta’s traffic congestion cost is about 100 trillion rupiahs[5], calculated by the amount of wasted fuel and time to commute. This cost is considered an externality from the ownership of the private vehicle. The cost and scheme to purchase a new car and motorcycle in Indonesia are relatively cheap, even people from middle to low income can have relatively easy access to own new motor vehicle.

1.1.2      Air Pollutions

It is estimated there was 5054 death as a result of air pollution in Jakarta by the Global Burden Disease study in 2019. The same report mentioned that 168,000 years are lost to death because of disease, disability, and premature death because of air pollution. A similar study by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reported that a pollution-related disease in Jakarta responsible for 79% or 36000 deaths of total death in 2019[6]. In addition, air pollution contributed to labor loss, increased health expenditures, cramping health providers, and reduced residents’ life quality.

1.1.3      Rivalrous and Non- Excludable

The uncongested road is typically non-rivalrous and non-excludable, which means one driver will not reduce the amount left for others. Therefore, it is difficult to prevent other people from using the road[7]. However, the road becomes rivalrous when many cars and motorcycles appear simultaneously, and the road is congested because the driver begins to impose a cost on each other[8].

1.1.4      Rent-Seeking

Despite the congestion and the lack of parking space in Jakarta, new car and motorcycle sales increase yearly. The involvement of Gaikindo as the importer of cars and motorcycles as an interest group has a significant influence in shaping transportation policy In Indonesia[9]. The central and provincial governments cannot impose radical and strict policies to reduce the purchasing power of new motor vehicles because there is a potential market depression that can affect social and economic crises.

The condition is also aggravated for the Provincial Government because the organized group only communicates with the central (national) government, where the role of the national government is negotiation and lobbying. In contrast, the role of the provincial government is regulation and sales. That means that even when the local government wants to impose a restriction, it will be difficult for law enforcement (see annex 2).

The other interest group potentially hindering the policy taxing the driver/ vehicle owner is the online taxi communities, such as Grab & Gojek. For example, the relatively new interest group was protesting the congestion charge (tax/ electronic road pricing) because it would impact their income as an online taxi[10].

2       Modeling The Problem

To address market and government failures, several variables were identified:

  • Restriction on the number of vehicles entering the city
  • Compensation for residents and drivers
  • Improve public transportation
  • Transparency on the cost, policy monitoring, and evaluation periodically

3       Policy Goals and Impact Category

The goals to reduce traffic congestion in Jakarta are categorized into four priority goals and their impact category.

Economic efficiency

Impact categories: minimize government enforcement budget; minimize fuel and time cost.

As prolonged traffic congestion will be costly for citizens and the government, effective policy on congested roads aims to increase economic efficiency in transportation by minimizing commuting time, productivity, fuel consumption, and the government of Jakarta’s budget for traffic handling each year. This policy’s success will save 100 trillion Rupiah from welfare loss and 14 trillion from the provincial government budget.

Environmental impact

Impact category: minimize emission output by private vehicles in Jakarta.

Of 961kg of CO2 emitted yearly from Jakarta traffic, 263 kilograms is from congestion only[11]. Therefore, the environmental impact of air pollution has become one of the priority goals of the Government of Jakarta Province. The measurement of the emission output will be challenging because Jakarta also has many industries that emit emissions. However, reducing congestion will alleviate a minimum of 269kg of CO2 yearly.


Impact Category: Maximize fairness to vulnerable communities such as the low-income group and people with disabilities.

Jakarta is one of the most robust economies in Indonesia. However, there is 4,69% of the poor population in Jakarta, and the Gini coefficient is high (0,4) or higher than the national level[12]. Therefore, Because of the high inequality, the rich can always pay a charge fee, hail a taxi, take a longer route, or purchase a second car to overcome the regulation and avoid congestion, but the poor and the people with disabilities will continue to suffer lack of transportation options.

Political feasibility

The likelihood of the policy implemented

The government of Jakarta can implement all of the proposals on congested roads with high political feasibility. It means that the Provincial Government of Jakarta will propose the policy will be accepted or have minimum resistance by the stakeholder, such as the Provincial parliament, interest group, and communities. Failing to get approval from the stakeholder will potentially hinder the enforcement.

4       Current Policy

4.1       Odd and Even Plate

The odd-even rule is regulated in the Regulation of the Governor of the Special Capital Region of Jakarta Number 88 of 2019 on Amendments to the Governor’s Regulation Number 155 of 2018 on Traffic Restrictions with an Odd-Even System[13]. This regulation means reducing the use of the private car and emission reduction. This regulation is implemented Monday to Friday at the peak hour 06.00 to 10.00 and 16.00 to 21.00. There are several exceptions for the car with disability stickers, public service cars (such as ambulances and fire engines), taxis, and cars loaded with essential commodities such as fuel. There is also an exception for the car with a high military plate number and Indonesia’s ministry/ public agency leader. This regulation is implemented in the main road and the business district area.

4.2       Tariff integration for public transport.

The Provincial Government of Jakarta has tariff integration for all public transport (Busses and inner-city trains) as regulated in the Governor’s Mandate No. 733, 2022. The amount of tariff is a maximum of IDR 10.000 per travel (single tap). The rationale of this regulation is to attract more residents and workers to use public transport. Additional information, Jakarta has 13 corridors route, 1 Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line, and 1 Light Rapid Transit (LRT) line for more than ten million populations. For comparison, 309 bus routes, six MRT lines, and 2 LTR lines in Singapore for 5,4 million population.

5       Alternative Policy

5.1       Congestion Charging for all Lanes

Congestion tax for consumers/ drivers who enter the congested area. The congestion charge will be applied to all lanes in the CBD areas with the most traffic congestion. The congestion charge is applied to all private vehicles (cars and motorcycles), while inner-city residents, ambulances, fire engines, commercial vehicles, cars with disabilities stickers, public transport vehicles, and international delegation cars will be exempt.

5.2       Free Public Transport (zero fares).

A policy to attract private car & motorcycle owners to use public transport by charging 0 (free) for any inner city public transportation. This policy will increase the equity towards low to middle-income and improve the welfare in the city. The operational cost of public transport will all be under the provincial budget.

6       The analysis.

6.1       Status Quo

Economic efficiency. The odd & even plate is only on the peak hour, while from tom-tom the traffic is all day from 7 am to 10 pm. Not all routes are impacted by these rules. For example, there is no rule for motorcycles even though the number of motorcycles is 17,3 million[14]. This can affect economic efficiency because even though there are fewer cars, more motorcycles will congest the road.

Environmental Impact. The study in Mexico City in 1984-1993 found no evidence that restricting license plate-based driving improves air quality[15]. There are possibilities that the driver will choose their driving schedule into the non-restrictive hour and or add more cars in their possession to match with the odd and even plate.

Equity. Despite having a promising short-term result, this policy has the possibility that citizens may purchase a second car[16] and the increased use of taxis and online transportation such as Gojek and Grab. That means there is inequality in the alternative of transport. The rich can have two or more cars or hail a taxi, while the vulnerable do not have many options.

Political Feasibility. The status quo policy has been implemented for five years without any protest or resistance from the stakeholders. After the lift up of Covid19 lockdown and travel restrictions, the road in Jakarta is back to the highly congested road. However, the Provincial Government and the stakeholder do not change the policy and just improve the policy by creating a traffic nudge, restricting U-turns, or changing the two-way road into a one-way road[17].

6.2       Congestion Charging uniformly to all lanes for cars and motorcycle

Economic Efficiency. The economist has advocated the congestion charge or congestion tax as an excellent cost-benefit action for congested roads. One efficiency study found that if imposed uniformly to all lanes, the congestion charging can achieve more than 90% efficiency. Congestion charging also can help increase government revenue and utilize the revenue to improve transportation welfare[18].

Environmental Impact. Politically, the congestion charging in all lanes uniformly correlated positively with environmental concern compared to other policies such as free public transport and adding more roads[19]. However, if people substitute private cars for a taxi, there will be no significant impact on the emission output.

Equity. The congestion charging will have better equality for people with low income and people with disabilities because the tax revenue can be used to increase transportation infrastructure (such as more routes, better schedules, inclusive sidewalks, and more disability-friendly design). However, some other communities, such as a mother with kids, will not have excellent support for this policy because they are more car-dependent.

Political Feasibility.

The high-income car owner will accept the likelihood of this policy is relatively high because of the value of time and does not have high constrain with cost. However, there will be resistance for middle-income vehicle owners and most motorcycle drivers. The car importer interest group will not be affected much because the tax is only implied in the inner city. 

6.3       Free Public Transport.

Economic Efficiency. Public transport in many cities in the world is most heavily subsidized. However, the optimal public fare can be reduced to zero if there is a congestion charge[20]. Even though it’s uncommon, free public transport can be justified because it can substitute private vehicles and exhibit economic scales (Vander, 2003, as cited in Bull, Munoz, and Silva, 2021). However, another study shows that the free fare incentives will only work with people who live near the station because the cost of travel from home to the station is zero.

Environmental Impact. In the ideal situation, the incentive for public transport increases, and more people substitute private vehicles for public transportation or walking, then the emission will be lower from congestion. However, the emission will be the same if the number of busses increases and congests the shared road.

Equity. Free public transportation will benefit low-income people. An example is that free rides can help unemployed youth increase their job search and find a job. However, the crowded bus will reduce the enjoyment and comfort of passengers, and the Provincial government needs to add more buses. Consequently, adding more buses will increase congestion on the road[21].

Political Feasibility.

The government and the stakeholders will potentially approve the proposal because the cost to subsidize public transportation (IDR 838,3 Billion)[22] is lower than the cost of traffic handling (IDR 14,2 Trillion). However, the policy will succeed if congestion charges/ other taxes are implemented simultaneously.

7       Recommendation

Based on the analysis, I recommend the Provincial Government of Jakarta implement a congestion charge. Implementing the policy will increase the city’s revenue, maximize transportation welfare, and reduce air pollution. The government will save more than IDR 14 trillion or divert to another public service to minimize the Gini coefficient. If the implementation succeeds, the revenue from the congestion charge can be used to pay for the environmental damage because of pollution, such as adding more park and side road plants and subsidies for the health of the residents. This policy must be challenging first because of the driver’s resistance, especially from outside Jakarta. A parking lot in the outer ring of the Jakarta area will need to help workers from out of Jakarta switch their vehicles from private to public. In addition, for implementing this policy, regular monitoring and evaluation of the policy are necessary. Regularly measure the number of cars, congested areas, public transport passengers, and emission numbers.

8       References

‘APBD-2023-Prov-DKI-Jakarta’ (no date).

Börjesson, M. et al. (2015) ‘Factors driving public support for road congestion reduction policies: Congestion charging, free public transport and more roads in Stockholm, Helsinki and Lyon’, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 78, pp. 452–462. Available at:

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Bull, O., Muñoz, J.C. and Silva, H.E. (2021) ‘The impact of fare-free public transport on travel behavior: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial’, Regional Science and Urban Economics, 86, p. 103616. Available at:

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Parry, I.W.H. (2002) ‘Comparing the efficiency of alternative policies for reducing traffic congestion’, Journal of Public Economics, 85(3), pp. 333–362. Available at:

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Syuhada, G. et al. (2023) ‘Impacts of Air Pollution on Health and Cost of Illness in Jakarta, Indonesia’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(4). Available at:

Tirachini, A., Hensher, D.A. and Rose, J.M. (2014) ‘Multimodal pricing and optimal design of urban public transport: The interplay between traffic congestion and bus crowding’, Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 61, pp. 33–54. Available at:

Traffic Index ranking | TomTom Traffic Index (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 20 April 2023).

Weimer, D.L. and Vining, A.R. (2017) ‘Policy Analysis Concepts and Practice’. Available at: (Accessed: 20 April 2023).

Zhang, W., Lin Lawell, C.Y.C. and Umanskaya, V.I. (2017) ‘The effects of license plate-based driving restrictions on air quality: Theory and empirical evidence’, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 82, pp. 181–220. Available at:


Annex 1. The level of air pollution in DKI Jakarta by the highes measurement value in 2020.

Source: DKI Jakarta Sectoral Report 2021

Annex 2: The relationship between Gaikindo- Central Government and Provincial Government.


Annex 3: Goals & Impcat Category adapted from Wiemer & Vining, 2017


[1] (Traffic Index ranking | TomTom Traffic Index, no date)

[2] (DKI Jakarta Provincial Government Sectoral Statistics 2021 |i, no date)

[3] (Jakarta traffic report | TomTom Traffic Index, no date)

[4] (‘APBD-2023-Prov-DKI-Jakarta’, no date)

[5] (Jakarta Makin Macet, Negara Bisa Rugi Rp 71-100 T!, no date)

[6] (Syuhada et al., 2023)

[7] (Gruber, 2019)

[8] (Weimer and Vining, 2017)

[9] (Hakoso, no date)

[10] (Demo Tolak Jalan Berbayar, Pengemudi Ojol Sebut Program Jalur Sepeda Justru yang Jadi Biang Macet Halaman all –, no date)

[11] (Jakarta traffic report | TomTom Traffic Index, no date)

[12] (DKI Jakarta Provincial Government Sectoral Statistics 2021 |i, no date)

[13] (DKI Jakarta Provincial Government Sectoral Statistics 2021 |i, no date)

[14] (BPS Provinsi DKI Jakarta, no date a)

[15] (Zhang, Lin Lawell and Umanskaya, 2017)

[16] (Zhang, Lin Lawell and Umanskaya, 2017)

[17] (Dinas Perhubungan DKI Jakarta on Instagram: “#TemanDishub, dalam rangka mengurai kepadatan di berbagai ruas jalan di Jakarta, Dishub DKI Jakarta melakukan Penutupan Putaran Lalu Lintas…”, no date)

[18] (Parry, 2002)

[19] (Börjesson et al., 2015)

[20] (Bull, Muñoz and Silva, 2021)

[21] (Tirachini, Hensher and Rose, 2014)

[22] (MRT Jakarta Catatkan Peningkatan Pendapatan Non-Tiket dalam Tiga Tahun Terakhir, no date; BPS Provinsi DKI Jakarta, no date b; Pendapatan LRT Jakarta Naik 57 Persen pada 2022, no date)


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