Jakarta – State-owned train operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (PT KAI) has started providing rapid testing at several train stations in a bid to boost ridership and ensure safe protocols for passengers amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.
"We provide this [rapid test] service for the passengers' convenience, especially for those who want to travel during the 'adapting to new habits' era," PT KAI president director Didiek Hartantyo said in a written statement on Monday as reported by kompas.com.
The company previously announced that passengers of long-distance trains are required to bring negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or non-reactive rapid test results that are valid for 14 days at the time of the trip.
Didiek said the rapid test services would be available at 12 train stations across Java, namely Gambir and Pasar Senen in Jakarta; Bandung and Cirebon in West Java; Semarang, Tawang, Purwokerto and Solo Balapan in Central Java; Yogyakarta; Madiun, Surabaya Gubeng, Surabaya Pasarturi and Malang in East Java.
Pasar Senen Station in Central Jakarta was the first station to provide testing on Monday. PT KAI would then expand the service gradually to the remaining 11 stations.
Passengers can take a rapid test by paying Rp 85,000 (US$6). They are required to show their ticket for a long-distance train ride to train station officials.
Besides providing rapid test services for passengers, PT KAI has set up strict health protocols in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 on board and at train stations.
Travelers who plan to take the train are required to be in prime condition and have a temperature below 37.3 degrees Celsius.
Aboard the train, passengers have to maintain a safe physical distance, wash their hands routinely and wear masks and long-sleeved clothing. They also must wear face shields provided by the train operator throughout the trip, while children aged below 3 years old must bring their own face shields.
The staff will also arrange seats for passengers aged above 50 years old so they won't be sitting close to other passengers.
Didiek expressed hopes that the rapid test services and strict health protocols could increase the number of passengers while ensuring their safety during their journey.
"Through this service, we hope the public could increase their mobility by using trains. We also hope that we can keep all of our passengers healthy until they arrive at their destinations. We want to highlight that trains can be a safe and comfortable mode of transportation," he said.
The company suffered a plunge in income because of fewer trips and passengers due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Didiek said that before the pandemic, the company earned Rp 23 billion per day, but the figure dropped to between Rp 300 million and Rp 400 million per day starting in March, tempo.co reported on June 30.
Indonesia announced its first COVID-19 cases in early March, which was followed by social restriction policies set by the central and local governments in a bid to curb the spread of the disease. (nal)