Bandung was once seen as the ideal weekend getaway destination for Jakartans wanting to escape the capital's maddening macet, but a new study showed that the West Java city has become even more congested than Jakarta.
In late September, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) published a study called the 2019 Update of the Asian Development Outlook, which focuses on matters related to growth in 278 Asian cities.
Among the yardsticks for urban growth is traffic congestion, and the study goes about measuring congestion in Asia's large cities (those with a population of at least 5 million) by determining the time needed to travel during peak hours compared to non-peak hours.
The result may come as a surprise to us in Indonesia, as Bandung came 14th on the list with a congestion value nearing 1.2, meaning that its citizens spend close to 20% more time on the road during peak hours than off-peak hours. Jakarta came 17th in the list, while Surabaya was the only other Indonesian city at 20th.
Rendiana Awangga, a member of the Bandung City Council, blamed the city administration for Bandung being named the most congested Indonesian city in the study.
"First and foremost, there is a lack of acceptable public transportation that could encourage the public to ditch their private vehicles," Rendiana told Detik today.
"The city administration must revitalize public transportation in Bandung. Plans for a light rail transit system, cable cars and more bus routes must be accelerated."
Of course, different studies use different methodologies to determine traffic congestion and, more often than not, it's Jakarta that gets the unenviable title of the most congested city in Indonesia. For example, a study in 2017 ranked Jakarta's traffic as the 12th worst in the world, far higher than any other Indonesian city.