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KNKT asked for transparency in train crash investigations

Tempo - January 16, 2024

Adinda Jasmine, Yohanes Maharso Joharsoyo, Jakarta – Two train accidents occurred in Indonesia within the first two weeks of 2024. The latest one was the derailment of the Pandalungan (75A) Train serving the Gambir – Surabaya – Jember route at the Tanggulangin Station area, Sidoarjo, East Java, on Sunday, Jan. 14.

Joni Martinus, a spokesperson for state-owned rail operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI), said there were no fatalities or injuries in the incident. Nevertheless, this series of incidents is likely to raise public concerns about their safety when using public transportation.

Sutanto Soehodho, a transportation professor at the University of Indonesia's (UI) Faculty of Engineering, assessed that the train derailment could be related to problems with the rail structure.

"This [incident] could be different from what happened in Cicalengka, which was more about the system or perhaps human error," Sutanto told Tempo on Sunday, January 14.

According to him, extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain, could damage the soil that supports the tracks, and PT KAI needs to take preventive and maintenance measures for this.

Although passengers may be more vigilant and concerned about train services, the incident would not significantly affect the number of passengers, as the majority of train users, especially the lower middle class, are more concerned about fare affordability.

However, a serious accident, such as a collision between trains or a derailment that causes many fatalities, will have a greater impact on public trust.

Therefore, he hoped that PT KAI would be more anticipatory and proactive in maintaining and monitoring rail infrastructure, especially in areas prone to landslides.

Sutanto also highlighted the need for transparency from the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) in investigating the incidents for the public to assess PT KAI's safe services.

As previously reported, the Turangga Train collided with the Bandung Commuter Line on January 5, killing four PT KAI employees. The KNKT was still investigating the case.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1821790/knkt-asked-for-transparency-in-train-crash-investigation