ojek, bemos, becak, Tanjung Priok, Ngurah Rai
Until the mid-1960s Indonesia’s transportation system was very poor. Suharto’s New Order government improved much of the infrastructure, although many problems remain.
As an island nation, well-maintained waterways and interisland shipping are vital to Indonesia’s economy. In 1958 the Dutch withdrew most of their shipping equipment and personnel. Afterward, rebuilding and development progressed slowly until the early 1980s, when several of the main ports were modernized and interisland transport services were improved. Interisland shipping was also partially deregulated, giving ship owners greater freedom to choose routes and schedules. The main ports for international trade include Surabaya, Medan, Makassar, and Tanjung Priok, which serves Jakarta.
In 1999 Indonesia had 342,700 km (212,944 mi) of roads, of which 46 percent were paved. Between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s the amount of road nearly doubled. Inexpensive minibus services have grown in both cities and rural areas, improving mobility for many Indonesians. Government-owned bus companies and privately owned taxis and minibuses provide transit services in the larger cities. Low-cost transportation include bemos (small motorized vehicles), ojek (motorbikes that transport passengers on a rear seat), and becak, three-wheeled pedicabs. Becak have recently been banned from Jakarta because they are said to cause traffic congestion.
Railways are confined to Java, Sumatra, and Madura. Air services in Indonesia are provided by Garuda Indonesia and Merpati Nusantara airlines, both owned by the government; and by the privately owned Bouraq, Mandala, Serpati, and Seulawah airlines. Garuda Indonesia is the main international carrier; it also provides a full range of domestic services. Sukarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta is the country’s main airport, although there are several other international airports, including Ngurah Rai, serving Denpasar in Bali.
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