This new system will ease Jakarta’s traffic congestion

Jakarta is finally getting a major transportation breakthrough. Source: Shutterstock.

IF THERE IS one thing that Jakarta is known for, aside from the friendliest locals and a mix of cultures, it has to be its terrible traffic jams.

The Indonesian capital is home to 10 million people and over four million of the surrounding Greater Jakarta commute to and from the city each working day.

It is no wonder that for years now, Jakarta has been facing traffic that is incredibly hard to maneuver. Without a major transportation breakthrough, the city will be in complete traffic gridlock by 2020.

Although plans for the MRT network have been in the pipeline for a while, the project kept getting delayed, including during the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis.

After many rounds of dialogue between the national and local governments, the groundbreaking ceremony finally occurred in September 2015.

By the end of last month, nearly 95 percent of the 15.7-kilometre route was completed.

The rail-based line will run from the densely populated residential area of Lebak Bulus, in the south of Jakarta, to the HI roundabout in the city center where prime office buildings and five-star hotels are located.

Jakarta MRT train car being unloaded in Port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, April 2018. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The first round of tests next month to ensure that the signaling and control rooms function properly, followed by full and integrated tests involving trial runs of the trains in December.

Jakarta’s government is heavily subsidizing the running of the network, promising to make up for any shortfalls in MRT Jakarta’s future operating cash flows, according to Jakarta MRT president director William Sabanda.

Here are some quick facts about the system:

  • Construction for the Jakarta MRT project began in 2013.
  • The line is expected to stretch across over 108 kilometers.
  • The first phase is 15.7 kilometers-long from Lebak Bulus to Bundaran HI, a distance that’s expected to be covered in under 30 minutes.
  • Every six-car train will run in five minute-intervals during rush hour and 10 minutes during other times.
  • It has 13 stations along the way, six underground and seven elevated stations.
  • The underground stations are: Bundaran Hotel Indonesia, Dukuh Atas, Setiabudi, Bendungan Hilir, Istora, and Senayan.
  • The elevated stations are: Sisingamangaraja, Blok M, Blok A, Haji Nawi, Cipete Raya, Fatmawati, and Lebak Bulus.
  • It will also connect the basements of 50 office and commercial buildings to the underground areas of the stations.
  • The Lebak Bulus to Bundaran HI phase will serve 170,000 commuters per day.
  • The train fare is expected to cost between IDR3,000 (US$0.21) and IDR12,000 (US$0.84).
  • Jakarta MRT will be the first mass transit railway to be operated in Indonesia.
  • Currently, it is on track to begin operating from March 2019.

For more information, visit its website.

Meanwhile, the city’s government is also looking to introduce the Kelapa Gading-Velodrome light rail transit (LRT) as a fully operable means of transportation for the 2018 Asian Games in August.

The line will connect the Jakarta city center with suburbs in Greater Jakarta such as Bekasi, Bogor, and Depok.