Affordable railway fares to lure more passengers

itoday - The government has vowed to keep train fares affordable in a bid to attract more people to use the mass transportation system and, eventually, reduce road traffic.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said state railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) had agreed to keep providing comfortable and affordable mass transportation to the public.

“PT KAI and the government reached an agreement that the fares will remain the same to ensure public satisfaction,” Budi Karya said after an agreement between KAI and the ministry’s directorate general for railways in Jakarta recently.

The infrastructure, maintenance and operation (IMO) agreement and reviving old railway routes for the year 2019 are part of the company’s continued attempt to provide accessible and affordable mass transportation.

An executive train ticket from Jakarta to Surabaya, East Java, which spans about 780 kilometers and takes nine hours will cost passengers between Rp 500,000 (US$35.50) and Rp 600,000.

Railways directorate secretary-general Danto Restyawan said the government had prepared Rp 1.1 trillion for the IMO and Rp 183 billion for the old railway routes from the 2019 state budget.

“The Rp 1.1 trillion budget will be for maintenance and restoring the functionality of railways into a feasible operating condition,” he said.

The signing of the IMO contract in 2019 is the fifth since 2015. However, the government subsidy is lower than last year, which amounted to approximately Rp 1.3 trillion. Nevertheless, Danto insisted the budget would still be sufficient to cover the maintenance of railways, bridges and stations.

The budget will also be used to establish operating facilities such as railway controls, signaling, telecommunications, electricity installation, inspection of railways, bridges, railway crossings, as well as ensuring cleanliness and security.

Danto added that the IMO signing was a realization of 2018 Transportation Minister Decree No. 2130, mandating PT KAI to maintain the railways for the year 2019.

Meanwhile, Danto said the subsidy for old railway routes would no longer cover the KA Jenggala and KA Siliwangi routes as both of them would be funded through a public service obligation (PSO) scheme, which had been previously signed on Dec. 31, 2018.

The 2019 subsidy for old railway routes would be used to fund several trains, including the KA Cut Mutia, KA Bandara Lembah Anai, KA Minangkabau International Airport via Padang, KA Kertalaya, South Sumatra Airport LRT and KA Batara Kresna.

Minister Budi added that more people using public transportation, such as trains and light rail transit (LRT), would mean less traffic and fewer accidents which would be beneficial for the country in general.

“The MRT will operate soon in Jakarta, while LRT establishments are currently under way in Jakarta and Surabaya,” he said.

“This means trains are becoming inseparable from the traveling public in big cities and also those who travel from one city to another. (aak)



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