Jakarta: Indonesias capital Jakarta is one of the worlds most traffic-congested and populated cities, with over 10 million people commuting to the city on working days from the suburbs.
As a solution to this problem, the authorities have provided a number of public transportation means, such as the Trans-Jakarta bus service and commuter train KRL Jabodetabek to serve the Greater Jakarta or Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi) areas.
However, traffic jams persist and the use of KRL Jabodetabek, as well as Trans-Jakarta, has become inconvenient, owing to their always being crowded during peak hours.
The grave traffic congestion in the capital city has inflicted material losses, amounting to some Rp65 trillion annually, and also caused psychological problems among commuters in addition to decreasing their productivity.
“Data shows that the material losses caused by traffic jams in Jakarta had touched Rp65 trillion per year,” the Head of the Research and Development Agency of the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry, Arie Setiadi Moerwanto, said in a statement last May.
To ease the traffic jams, the government has planned the construction of some mass transportation projects, including an 83.6 kilometer-long Light Rail Transit (LRT) for the Greater Jakarta area, whose ground breaking ceremony was attended by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on Sept. 9.
The first phase of the LRT project construction will cost around Rp11.9 trillion for the three tracks — Cibubur-Cawang covering a distance of 13.7 kilometers (kms), Cawang-Dukuh, 10.5 kms and the Bekasi Timur-Cawang line covering 17.9 kms.
The second phase will cover Cibubur-Bogor, Dukuh Atas-Palmerah Senayan and Palmerah-Grogol and stretch up till 41.5 km, and will cost the same as the first phase.
The construction work for the first phase will start during the last quarter of 2015 and will be completed in 2016, and the second phase will begin in the last quarter of 2016 and will be completed by the end of 2018.
Six trains with a capacity for 24,000 passengers per hour that will run at the speed of 60 to 80 km per hour will be in service after the project is completed.
The LRT is a rail-based means of transportation that is eco-friendly and built to operate above roads and highways.
“It is integrated with all other means of public transport in Jakarta, including TransJakarta, airport railway and the Jakarta-Bandung speed train, etc.,” the President said.
Due to this, work to build the mass transport infrastructure should be completed on schedule, he added.
The President also expressed his optimism about the LRT project not being stalled like the monorail project, which had faced numerous impediments.
In comparison, the LRT project was said to be running relatively smoothly, the President stated after the groundbreaking ceremony of the LRT project in East Jakarta.
“Since the beginning, it has not encountered any problems. It is different from the monorail project that was plagued by issues, which must be parsed. It is not easy to unravel these problems in a short period of time,” he stated.
The President also explained that the rest of the monorail project, such as the pillars, which had been built, will be used for the LRT project.
Jokowi refused to comment on the problems faced during the implementation of the monorail project and decided to delegate affairs to Jakartas Governor.
Jakartas Governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, was also present at the ceremony and insisted that the problems related to the monorail project had been addressed.
“The project has been officially scrapped, and there are no more stories related to the monorail project in Jakarta,” Ahok remarked.
Moreover, the President has set a deadline for Ahok to complete the LRT project in Jakarta by 2018 when the city will host the Asian Games, so that it can be integrated with the LRT in Jakartas satellite towns.
Nine state companies will collaborate for the development of the LRT in the Greater Jakarta area.
“The synergy between state companies is needed in land development, financing, construction, and operation, to create added value, both for the corporations and the people,” Kiswodarmawan, the President of Adhi Karya, one of the nine companies, said on the sidelines of the ground breaking ceremony held in the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah area.
PT. Adhi Karya has allocated Rp 2.75 trillion (US$ 193 million) as initial capital for the project.
The other eight companies that will be involved in the project are PT Jasa Marga Tbk , Perum PPD, PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesi (RNI), Perum Bulog, PT Bank BNI Tbk, PT Bank Mandiri Tbk, PT Bank BRI Tbk, and PT Bank BTN Tbk.
PT Jakarta Propertindo, a company owned by the Jakarta city administration, is also involved in the construction of the Rp23.8 trillion mass transport project.