PT MRT Jakarta announced the East - West projects need costs around Rp75.5 trillion (US$5.40 billion) - Photo by TheInsiderStories

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The operator of the Indonesian mass rapid transit system, PT MRT Jakarta announced the East – West projects need costs around Rp75.5 trillion (US$5.40 billion), the senior officer on Thursday (07/25). The development its targeting starting 2020 and need  seven years to finish it.

“The 31 kilometer (km) track will mostly be built floating and some will be built undergroundn,” told MRT Jakarta’ president director William Sabandar yesterday.

He adds, the company is currently finalizing the sources funding for the project. As prior project, Sabandar revealed the company plans to borrow from lenders like the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as well as getting funding from the government and private sector loans.

“There are some donors who are interested, such as JICA, ADB, and AIIB. Those three are now looking at the third phase project. We will look for a mechanism to speed up the process,” he said.

Jakarta suffers from some of the worst traffic jams in the world and its governor has pledged to invest more than $40 billion in the next 10 years to upgrade its transportation and other infrastructure.

The city’ first $3 billion MRT system opened in March, running 8 km partially underground from the south to central Jakarta along main thoroughfares. This will be extended by 38 km.

The company is expected to announce the winner of a tender to build the second line, a 7-km stretch that runs underground from downtown to north of the city, after an August deadline for proposal submission is passed, according to its invitation for bids. A consortium of Indonesian and Japanese firms won the tender for the first phase.

The second line is expected for completion by 2025, Sabandar said. The third line, a 31-km track connecting the eastern part of the city to the west, will begin construction next year and is expected to be operational by 2026, he added.

The company said the number of MRT passengers continued to increase, even though it had not been operating for a year, precisely since March 25. It was recorded, the average number of passengers throughout July 2019 reached 94,824 people per day, said Sabandar.

He expects, the number of passengers to be increased by a target of 100,000 passengers per day until the end of 2019. The target is said to be very rational, considering that the average number of passengers of MRT Jakarta in June reached 81,816 people per day.

MRT Jakarta also prepares a focus of action to improve the accessibility of walking and cycling to and from the MRT Station area. The concept of improvement consists of short term, medium-term, and long term.

“The focus of our action is improving pedestrian infrastructure outside the main road as a first connection and last mile for people traveling. At least within a 500-meter radius of the MRT station which also includes sidewalks and connecting roads and roadways,” he said.

President Joko Widodo aimed to integrated Jakarta and its surrounding transportation management (Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi). The connection plan need funds around Rp571 trillion.

The amount to meet the needs of the development of basic needs included MRT and Light Rail Transit (LRT), settlements, clean water, wastewater management. The construction of the four basic needs will be speeded up in 10 years so that it can be completed in the next 2030.

In a cabinet meeting, Widodo stressed the acceleration of the development and management of integrated transportation in Jakarta was urgent because it had caused losses of around Rp100 trillion per year. For this reason, the President emphasized, there should be no more sectoral egos, ministry egos, regional egos because everything that exists is the national interest.

The president stressed the importance of integrating urban transportation systems with spatial planning. He wants intermodal connectivity and continuity, both MRT, LRT, Electric Rail, Transjakarta, then other modes of transportation. These steps will greatly reduce congestion in Jakarta and the surrounding area.

On the same occasion, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan detailed infrastructure development needs including the addition of transportation networks starting from MRT, LRT, Transjakarta and railroad tracks no longer in the same level. MRT have length 223 kilometers, LRT 116 kilometers, and Transjakarta from 431 kilometers.

As for clean water program, it targets the coverage to be 100 percent, from the current one to only 60 percent. He continued, wastewater management is targeted to reach 81 percent, from now only 14 percent. While for settlements, 600 thousand new housing units are still needed.

Baswedan admitted that in a limited meeting with the president and related ministers beforehand, he had discussed the budget for the construction of the entire infrastructure. According to him, the source of the budget is not only sourced from the State Budget, but also through other funding patterns such as partnerships with the private sector, investment and loans.

While after trying the MRT, Widodo explained that the second phase of MRT development will be marked by groundbreaking at the inauguration of the first phase of Sunday. MRT route stage II Bundaran HI station in Central Jakarta to Kampung Bandan in North Jakarta. The total length of the route is around 8.3 kilometres.

In addition, according to Widodo, the government plans to provide MRT in other cities, so it is not too late like Jakarta. Palembang, Sumatera Utara, Bandung, Surabaya, Makassar are cities that the President calls potential MRT projects.

US$1=Rp14,000

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com