AT times, getting from the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to Jakarta’s traffic-congested city centre can be an hours-long ordeal, but now that has changed with the first direct train connecting the terminal to the capital.
The new system links the airport on the outskirts of the city to downtown in only 55 minutes, cutting travel time by half or more if one was to travel by car, reported AFP.
On Monday, Indonesia’s president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo launched the new system that the government hopes would convince travellers to use public transport for the 38km journey instead of privately-owned vehicles. The new rail link is also aimed at reducing congestion on the city’s clogged roads.
“Thank god that after three years and working hard to finish this Soekarno-Hatta airport train, this morning we can inaugurate it and we know that this train is a way to provide transportation in Jakarta to reduce traffic jams,” Widodo said.
On average, the new system is expected to carry over 11,000 daily commuters.
With a total of 42 trips scheduled daily, the service runs from dawn to shortly before midnight.
For the first two months of the service, passengers only need to pay IDR70,000 (US$5.10) before the price increases to IDR100,000 (US$7.40) afterwards, roughly half of what they would pay for a taxi.
And for years, Indonesia, the world’s biggest archipelago nation and biggest economy in Southeast Asia, has been struggling with the lack of decent transportation and its reputation for having some of the world’s worst traffic jams.
The launch of the train comes some eight months before the Jakarta hosts the 2018 Asian Games which would see tens of thousands of athletes and tourists throng the city.