New details have emerged regarding the highly-anticipated MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) railway system in Jakarta and it looks like we will be able to ride it in a matter of months, provided there are no further delays.
Yesterday, PT MRT Jakarta announced that the first phase of the MRT project, a railway line connecting Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to Hotel Indonesia Roundabout in Central Jakarta, will be commercially ready by March 2019.
Not only that, we learned that MRT will operate daily from 5 am to 12 pm, with trains passing each station every five minutes during busy periods (6 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 7 pm) and every 10 minutes for the rest of the day.
“We have a busy schedule [for train departures], every five minutes, so we can accommodate as many passengers as possible,” PT MRT Jakarta Operations and Maintenance Director Agung Wicaksono told Kompas yesterday.
The MRT, which is already going through a partial trial run, will undergo a month-long full trial run in mid-February, the successful conclusion of which will be followed by commercial operations. There’s no word yet on how much tickets will cost.
Much hope has been placed on the MRT to alleviate the capital’s traffic woes. Minister of National Development Planning Bambang Brodjonegoro said last year that Jakarta’s macet — a consequence of the city’s lateness in constructing rail-based transportation systems like the MRT — causes the country US$5 billion loss each year in lost productivity.
The MRT has seen some delays in the past few years, having been previously targeted for completion in 2018 in times for the Asian Games currently being co-hosted in Jakarta. Obviously, they missed that target so let’s hope they can really make it by March.