Oleh: Nathaniel Rayestu | Kadiv Kajian Kanopi 2012 | Ilmu Ekonomi 2009
Bad traffic problems facing not just Jakarta but many metropolitan areas around the world has made it a major trouble for comutters to get to and home from work. For those that drive a car, ride a bike, or use non-rail public transportation, the time spent on the road keeps on increasing as traffic gets worse and worse. That means less time for the family, less leisure time, less sleep, among others. Obviously this is not good for the bodies and souls of these hard-working people. A more serious note, heavy traffic is also bad for people who are mobile as the time spent for productive activities is cut by traffic jams.
Now let us just assume it is impossible to decrease the number of cars that goes on the road each day, that is people would not move from using private to public transportation. What can we do then to keep our productivity?
One of the reasons why traffic is so bad during rush hours is that most people have similar working time, some 8.00-17.00, some 9.00-18.00, some are somewhere around that. It is only logical that traffic could be significantly reduced if some companies work at abnormal hours, say 17.00-02.00 or 20.00-05.00, or some time in between. For the sake of discussion I will just assume that people can easily switch their rest and sleep hours accordingly.
One thing that needs to be adjusted for this proposal to be implemented is that banking hours should also be 24 hours. This is not a shot too long, we have seen many banks that open in malls have longer working hours than normal. If enough companies strongly feels about working nocturnal, it is only sure that banks would then extend their hours to fill that demand. Moreover, when one bank decides to do it then the rest will follow in no time in order not to lose market share. This also explains the reason why convenient stores are open 24 hours (see Bob Frank’s The Economic Naturalist). Government services should also operate 24 hours, as I have pointed out in a previous article.
One thing that can be a problem is that companies tend to have similar working hours in order to be able to network with other companies, to hold meetings during office hours, etc. For this I agree that it might be an issue, but then again once more and more companies work during abnormal hours, people would easily find solutions to this problem, such as meeting during intersecting hours.
One side benefit if people start doing this: more opportunities for entrepreneurs to provide services necessary for these nocturnal workers, such as restaurants that open 24 hours, malls and supermarkets that open 24 hours, and so on so forth. Ain’t that convenient for all of us? I know damn well that this might seem to be a crazy idea, but heck, if it saves time and makes people more productive, why not?