Indonesia Opens First Subway In Jakarta: Commences Extension Project
Indonesia has finally opened its first subway station on Sunday in Jakarta, with the aim of relieving the gridlocked capital from worsening traffic congestion. Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo spearheaded a groundbreaking ceremony marking the beginning of the subway extension project.
The First In The Recent Years
Out of the 11 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), 6 countries have an existing or currently being built subway system. The first in the region to have one is Singapore.
Malaysia and Bangkok also have this mass transport system for quite a long time already. Vietnam and the Philippines are now looking to open theirs in the next few years.
And now, Indonesia opens its first subway system in Jakarta, the country’s capital.
The MRT Jakarta, as it is being officially called, connects 13 stations along its route and is expected to accommodate close to 200,000 passengers per day.
As of the time of this writing, the minimum fare agreed to by the Jakarta Council is Rp 8,500 (60 US cents). The amount covers the first 10 kilometers travelled. The fare will then be pro-rated for the exceeding kilometers.
Albeit a long-overdue project, its completion is now seen as the government’s attempt to stave off the crippling effects of traffic congestion currently being suffered by motorists in Jakarta – the 3rd worst traffic in the world.
The country’s first subway, which runs 16 kilometers south from Jakarta’s downtown, was inaugurated by Indonesian President Joko Widodo. In his speech made on Sunday, Pres. Widodo said its opening will usher in a “new civilisation” in Jakarta.
Apparently, this is just the first phase of his administration’s campaign to improve the capital’s mass transit system.
On that very same day, Pres. Widodo presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the second phase of the project. This involves the construction of an additional eight-kilometer line going northwards from Jakarta. Its target completion date is in 2024.
A Strong Political Will
The two gargantuan infrastructure development projects have an estimated cost of $2.6 billion which was funded through a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The Jakarta subway system project has been in the works since the 1980s, but until recently, its construction has been hampered by different factors such as political unrests, red tape, as well as funding disagreements.
After more than three decades, construction of the system finally took off the ground in 2014 when Widodo was governor of Jakarta. The initiative was further carried out well into his term as the president of Indonesia, a position which he was sworn in on that same year.