Yohana Belinda, Jakarta – The government has kickstarted the development of the Jakarta light rail transit (LRT) extension to Manggarai, South Jakarta, which is set to be completed in 2026.
The extension, dubbed phase 1B, will increase the total length of the rail-link to 12.2 kilometers. Currently, phase 1A of the project connects Pegangsaan Dua in Kelapa Gading and Velodrome in Rawamangun, a distance of 5.8 km.
The project was supposed to start in August, but was delayed for two months due to administrative problems.
"The Jakarta administration provided Rp 5.5 trillion [US$345 million] funds for the project. [We expect it] to be completed in 2026. The point is [the construction of the Jakarta LRT] must be high quality," acting Jakarta governor Heru Budi Hartono said during the groundbreaking for the project, as quoted by Kompas.
"The Rawamangun-Pramuka [section] is expected [to be ready] by September 2024," Heru said.
The extension comes five years after phase 1A of the rail link was completed and started commercial operation in 2018.
Previously, the local administration under former governor Anies Baswedan planned to extend the LRT to the newly built Jakarta International Stadium with a target of construction starting in 2023 and becoming operational two years later.
Indonesia signed an agreement with South Korea in November 2022 to develop rail, air and sea transportation in Indonesia that also included that country's participation in the LRT.
According to the LRT Jakarta website, the trains are built by South Korean company Hyundai Rotem, the railway arm of carmaker Hyundai.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said in a statement on Monday that the extension would encourage more passengers to use the system.
"In that way, we can reduce congestion and financial losses along with it," Budi said.
Aside from the Jakarta LRT extension, the government says it plans to build a new LRT in Bali to ease roadway congestion from the airport, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan said on Sept. 28.
He added that the system would be built underground and connect the island's international airport to popular tourist areas Canggu and Seminyak.
In 2021, similar talks with South Korea were held to explore the possibility of the country building an LRT project in Bali.
Commercial operations of the Greater Jakarta LRT began on Aug. 28, connecting the capital with two satellite cities, Bekasi and Depok in West Java.
However, the rail-link has seen a slew of problems, including train delays, a door malfunction resulting in a 40-minute wait for a replacement train to arrive and power outages that resulted in abrupt train stops.
This October, the train faced yet another issue regarding its wheels, which are produced by local state-owned manufacturer PT INKA.
Its operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) said on Oct. 25 that 103 trips a day were canceled due to a lack of trains in working order, out of a total of 234 scheduled trips.