Newsmaker Interview: Herry Trisaputra Zuna

Indonesian Toll Road Authority head discusses integrating technology with highways

By tellisa Ramadhani and Ronald Indrawan
Monday, August 22, 2016

The Indonesian Toll Road Authority (BPJT), under the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, recently released the beta version of the mobile app Tolkita, which is the first integrated app for Indonesian toll roads.

The aim of the app, made available on the Android platform, is to improve services by both the BPJT and the Toll Road Managing Companies (BJUT), Herry Trisaputra Zuna, the Head of BPJT, told AmCham Indonesia.

Herry is no stranger to this field, having worked in the Ministry of Public Works for many years, and he has a strong vision for improving infrastructure in Indonesia and giving toll road users the best service.

AmCham Indonesia spoke with him about the development of toll roads and moves to integrate toll roads with technology.

AmCham Indonesia: First, what exactly does the Indonesian Toll Road Authority (BPJT) do in developing toll roads?

Herry Trisaputra Zuna: The BPJT has been given a mandate as the contracting agency that prepares the bidding for the contract until the agreement signing on behalf of the minister and the government, and also to monitor, supervise and control the contract, from pre-design to construction. Even after construction finishes, we still supervise the operation and management. The toll road managing companies report to us. We keep an eye on financing, design, construction, operations and workmanship.

As for our strategy to develop toll roads, we need to improve the collaboration between all related institutions, such as the government, the toll road managing companies and the banks. We have always had the issue of limited resources, and in all instances we must be able to work simultaneously with what we have.

The most fundamental issue is not having the land ready. So we have to be trained to work even without the space that we need so that the construction or other processes will not be delayed. There are always other things to do even without having the land. It might be hard at this stage to attract investors, but there is still the possibility if we give them an understanding of the project and a thorough long-term plan.

The other strategy is that some projects cannot be given to the managing company 100 percent because of various issues; therefore the government needs to step in. There are five schemes that BPJT has that can be applied to toll road projects, such as build operate transfer (BOT), support build operate transfer (SBOT) and availability schemes. Each scheme differs based on the way the system between the companies and government works.

We also need to keep helping the toll road managing companies understand that we are doing business in providing services, not only in the construction sector. We have to maximize the services we give to our toll road users and this will happen by accommodating the managing companies and the users. How to manage the toll roads must come from what the users demand, that is what providing services is all about. Another way to maximize our service to the users, with vehicle volume being so big, is to minimize manual transactions and move forward with cashless transactions.

What are the challenges in toll road development?

Our main aim at the moment is how to achieve the land goals across Indonesia that we have been talking about. For example, in Java we have 170 km to reach Banyuwangi that we have not got our hands on because of land issues and we have to finish it by 2019. That is why, as I mentioned before, collaboration among institutions is very important as there is land owned by state-owned companies in the location.

Another challenge is getting the funds for the project. How can we guarantee the bank and stakeholders will lend us the money when we do not yet have the land to work on? We now have the Indonesia Infrastructure Guarantee Fund (PT PII) as a solution to accelerate infrastructure development and it plays an important role in many of our upcoming projects. In the past, guarantees during the bidding process have been an option. The bidding process should always be guaranteed to create a more healthy industry environment and attract more investment. But we cannot always attract investors with profit projections because we all know that within the first years after the toll road is finished, profit always falls below expectations. It takes at least five to 10 years to reach the expected profit.

What efforts are there to improve the toll roads in less centralized areas?

Ministry of Public Works Regulation No. 13 of 2010 on Toll Road Procurement Guidelines Article 10, states that toll road construction should be done in an economically robust area. Therefore we see that construction happens in well-developed and centralized areas. But we see the need to connect more places to improve the economy in those places, because without infrastructure it will come to nothing.

So, in regards to the regulation, the main aim should be for development in a well-developed area, but we can channel some funding to less-developed areas through subvention [a grant]. The other way is by using the profit gained from the current generation of toll users. We can use that money for future construction so the money keeps on flowing for development.

We have heard about Tolkita, a mobile app initiated by BPJT. Can you tell us about the app?

Tolkita will feature all toll roads in Indonesia. The main purpose of this app is to give users real-time information on traffic. Hopefully we can install CCTV cameras every kilometer on the road to give updated information on traffic. This app will also list the facilities available on toll roads, such as rest areas and exit gates and directions to the closest rest areas from the users’ current location. We also feature safety tips and instructions for the toll road.

We hope this app will be a big help for toll users and be used as a trip planner to choose the most efficient route to avoid traffic jams.

This app differs from other mapping apps because we are focusing on toll road services. Often the other mapping apps will show which route is dense, but without any clear information. Hopefully with Tolkita, we can provide real-time information along with proof, such as photographs of the roads and updates on the situation. The users can also give their input and ask questions through a feature on the app, which will be directed to our command center and we will try to update them immediately. In essence, the app users will be humanized with their access to information and two-way communication.

And also, this app is 100 percent developed by Indonesian developers together with the BPJT and toll road managing companies.

When is the expected launch date for Tolkita?

We hope to introduce the app prior to the Christmas holiday, and by Eid next year it can be used at its optimum capability. For now we have been receiving good input from our beta testers so we are optimistic. 

Tolkita can be downloaded on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bpjt.tolkita&hl=en

 

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