Indonesia looks to Monorail to alleviate traffic jams in Jakarta

In October Joko Widodo, the governor of the capital, Jakarta, restarted two of the city’s moribund mass-transit projects, which formed an important part of his successful gubernatorial campaign in 2012. First, he broke ground on the initial stage of a mass rapid transit (MRT) line, and days later he announced that work would restart on a two-line monorail.

The city committed only around 8% of its land area to roads, which, according to Scott Younger of a local consultancy, Nusantara Infrastructure, is about one-half of what is usually necessary.

Economic losses linked to gridlocked intersections and roads will balloon to about Rp65trn (US$6.3bn) a year in 2020, from Rp13trn in 2005. The bottlenecks strain overburdened ports and push up consumer prices, especially for food.

China will build the monorail

The monorail will carry around 300,000 or so passengers per day when it starts operation. Comprising two lines, the network will extend for 28 km, and will connect Jakarta’s main business districts of Kuningan and Sudirman with its suburbs to the east and west. The monorail will cost US$1.6bn to construct and will be built and paid for by a Chinese state-owned enterprise, the China Communication Construction Company (CCCC).

The local economy has grown at a much faster rate than that of the rest of the country, which means that average monthly income in the city is approaching the US$1,000 mark, the level commonly thought sufficient to enable car ownership. Already, around 1,000 four-wheeled vehicles join Jakarta’s streets every day, in addition to the stock of 3m cars and 8m scooters.

The MRT has been under discussion for even longer—it was first proposed in the late 1980s. Under the current plans a 16–km line will transport 412,000 passengers a day by 2021. It will be partly financed by a US$1.3bn loan from the JICA

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