Jakarta launches light rail network

In the latest indication of the speed at which the region is embracing major rail projects, Indonesia has a launched a light rail transit network serving Jakarta and two of its satellite cities.

The new LRT Jabodebek service spans 42.1 km. Trains on its two lines stop at 18 stations, connecting a main business district in central Jakarta with the cities of Depok and Bekasi in West Java province.

LRT Jabodebek is Indonesia’s third such network. The first, in South Sumatra province, was launched in 2018 and runs 23 kilometers. LRT Jakarta followed a year later, covering 5.8 km.

“Jakarta has persistently ranked among the world’s 10 most congested cities,” Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said during the launch ceremony. 

“Every day 996,000 vehicles enter Jakarta, causing traffic jams and pollution. We hope people will shift to LRT in droves so that we can avoid traffic congestion and reduce pollution.”

To finance the project, state-owned Kereta Api Indonesia, the railway’s owner, received a direct capital injection from the government as well as syndicated loans, mostly from local banks. State construction company Adhi Karya is the contractor, while state train maker Inka produced the rolling stock. 

The new LRT service is set to deploy 31 trains, each consisting of six carriages and able to carry up to 1,300 passengers per trip. When the system becomes fully operational, the trains will make over 400 daily runs from 5am to 11:30pm.

The Indonesia Transportation Ministry plans to attract riders with a subsidy that will cut fares for the longest journey to 20,000 rupiah ($1.30) from 27,000 rupiah.