Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – The government is banking on the freshly launched light rail transit, popularly known as the LRT, to reduce the traffic in one of the world's most congested cities, Jakarta.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Monday inaugurated the long-awaited, driverless LRT trains. The 41.2 kilometer-long LRT covers Jakarta, Bogor, Depok and Bekasi – part of the heavily crowded Jakarta Metropolitan area. The government spent a total of Rp 32.6 trillion ($2.1 billion) to construct the autonomous LRT project.
"Jakarta is always in the world's top 10 most congested cities. About 996,000 vehicles enter Jakarta everyday," Jokowi said when inaugurating the LRT at Cawang station in Jakarta.
Jakarta's heavy traffic – in addition to the poor air quality – prompted the government to develop the public transport system. This includes the mass rapid transit (MRT), LRT, and commuter line, among others, according to Jokowi.
"We are trying to nudge people into switching from using private vehicles to public transport. Although I do admit it is not easy," Jokowi said.
A case in point is the MRT, which only sees a daily ridership of 80,000 people. This marks a huge contrast to the targeted 180,000 passengers per day, according to Jokowi. The MRT today stretches from Lebak Bulus to the Hotel Indonesia roundabout.
The president added: "Hopefully, we will see people flocking to the LRT to prevent the traffic congestion, while also addressing the pollution."
Although driverless, a Bekasi-based operational center still controls the LRT. The LRT will only have train attendants on board.
The LRT stations are spread across these areas: Dukuh Atas, Setiabudi, Rasuna Said, Kuningan, Pancoran, Cikoko, Ciliwung, Cawang, TMII, Kampung Rambutan, Ciracas, Harjamukti, Halim, Jatibening Baru, Cikunir I, Cikunir II, West Bekasi, and Jati Mulya.
LRT tickets are available at a flat rate of Rp 5,000. The 78-percent discount will last until the end of September. The government will then set a maximum tariff of Rp 20,000 starting from Oct. 2023 to the end of Feb. 2024.