GOTTCHA: Police officials are encouraging the public to take pictures of offensive drivers and send it to a website in a bid to 'name and shame' offenders. Image: Sapa
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Traffic violators who have long gone unchecked in Indonesia's gridlocked and often chaotic capital, Jakarta, will soon have a new force to reckon with - fellow drivers.
Police in what is one of the world's largest and most congested cities will launch a social networking website next month to allow residents to post photos to "name and shame" errant road users..
Rikwanto, spokesman for Jakarta Metropolitan Police, said: "In Jakarta, there are too many people who break traffic rules and cause inconvenience to everybody else. If society can help us identify the violators, we believe this is a good way to tackle the problem."FORCING A WAY
About the only rule that seems to apply to Jakarta's roads is to find a way to avoid the huge traffic jams of cars and motorcycles, even if it does mean squeezing into dedicated bus lanes, pavements, even pedestrian bridges.
A years-old ban on using the city's main thoroughfare during rush hours with less than three people in a car has little impact. Drivers simply hire one of the many "jockeys" who line the streets for 15 000 rupiah (equivalent to R12.85) to act the role of extra passenger. That is about a third of the fine for breaking the rule.
Authorities have warned that the start of the construction of a mass transit railway system in the beginning of 2013 - 20 years after it was proposed - will make traffic even worse for a year or two in the city of 10-million.
Commuter Zainal Abidin (23) said: "I take public buses because they are supposed to be fast, but I get so frustrated that (drivers) don't follow the rules when they enter the bus lanes. I might use the new website."
In November traffic police finally started enforcing a 2009 law that imposes a fine of 500 000 rupiah (equivalent of R426) for motorcycles and about R851 for cars that enter bus lanes.
They are hoping to tap in to a combination of public indignation and Jakartans' avid use of social media to help them.
Indonesia's capital has among the world's largest numbers of Twitter users. The reason? Analysts say it is largely because people have so much spare time sitting in traffic jams.