Jokowi launches Southeast Asia’s first high speed railway

  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo inaugurated Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway on Monday as it was set to begin commercial operations, a key project under China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative that will drastically reduce the travel time between two key cities.
  • The project has been beset with delays and increasing costs, and some observers doubt its commercial benefits
  • The USD7.3bn project, largely funded by China, was constructed by PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China, known as PT KCIC, a joint venture between an Indonesian consortium of four state-owned companies and China Railway International Co. Ltd.
  • The railway connects Jakarta with Bandung, the heavily populated capital of West Java province, and will cut travel time between the cities from the current three hours to about 40 minutes.
  • The line was originally expected to begin operations in 2019, but was delayed by disputes over land acquisition, environmental issues and the COVID-19 pandemic. It was planned to cost IDR66.7tn (USD4.3bn), but the amount ballooned to IDR113tn($7.3 billion).
  • PT KCIC estimated one-way prices per passenger would range from IDR250,000 USD$16) for second class to IDR350,000 (USD22.60) for VIP seats.

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