Living in a town of just under 10 million (excepting the satellite towns), Jakartans have been crying out for more public transportation choices to escape the traffic jams. That’s why there is so much hope, and hype has been put in Jakarta’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, which officials say is scheduled for a complete launch at the end of the month.
Roughly 40 years later, it was conceptualised. Nearly a decade later, the government of Joko Widodo finally pushed the project off the floor. Yesterday, I got a chance to ride the MRT Jakarta through its public trial run. I left from Lebak Bulus, the primary channel of the MRT’s first phase, with the final stop becoming the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout (Bundaran HI) at Central Jakarta.
Once it is in full swing, my experience will not reflect the reality of daily commuting to the MRT. My e-ticket was scanned by volunteers on entrance at Lebak Bulus since the ticket barriers and machines aren’t yet functioning. They handed little stickers to the handful of trial commuters eagerly racing to get on board.
My belief in this transit alternative that is new is the MRT’s centres are contemporary and polished. The channels, in the minimum, rival those of neighbouring Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (those we’ve looked up with jealousy for so long). I could not help but feel as the MRT has been still some compensation for years of distress and battle experienced from the long-suffering commuters of the capital.
As I stopped the train, it felt nostalgic hearing that the automatic announcement of channels with titles. It was familiar with like Fatmawati, Cipete Raya, and Blok M. It was just as though I had been coming at those South Jakarta hubs out of someplace later on. It gave me this comfortable impression, fast, and easy the ride that contrasts to the KRL Commuterline that was rocky. For the time being, (I expect, for a very long time to come) that the trains — known as Ratangga dependent on the ancient Javanese term for chariot — were likewise squeaky clean.
My train finished its trip into Bunderan HI in about 30 minutes. That is a comparison to a 1-hour journey by car required surrounding areas or after taking the TransJakarta in Lebak Bulus. In the relatively short MRT ride whet your thirst and hunger, you’ll be happy to know that mini-stores and cafe chains are already under development inside the channels. It’s also necessary to remember that all the MRT’s channels are equipped with escalators and lifts that should hopefully facilitate access for those who have disabilities.
Reflecting on my first MRT ride, it is clear that it is far better from the very best mass transport alternative Jakartans now have. At least in terms of relaxation and efficacy. It might indeed lure individuals their vehicles to be ditched by some for the train. That depends on Jakartans’ will and whether or not they find the fare to be more affordable. While ticket fare have not yet been officially announced, MRT operators also have suggested a tariff of IDR 8,500-IDR 10,000 (US$0.60-US$0.70) per 10 km traveled. It might end up being quite a lot of bang for the bucks.
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