The LRT project, the work on which is 89.1 percent complete, is expected to become operational in July or before the Asian Games 2018 to be held in Palembang and Jakarta from August 18 to September 2, 2018.
According to Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, the use of the new mode of transportation is expected to change the lifestyle of the people of Palembang City. Palembang is the first city in Indonesia to have the LRT mode of transportation.
"We, the central and regional governments, want the LRT mode of transportation to offer a new lifestyle to the urban residents in Palembang and to serve as a mass transportation model for other cities," Minister Sumadi noted in Palembang on Friday (Apr 21).
The minister made the statement while receiving the delivery of two LRT train sets at the Boom Baru Port of Palembang on Friday.
Upon arrival at Pelabuham Boom Baru, the two train sets, each comprising three coaches, will undergo testing -- static, dynamic, and load test -- that are expected to be completed by early July.
One of the government's strategies to encourage the people of Palembang to use LRT is to charge an affordable tariff.
"We will charge as light a tariff as possible, so that Palembang's residents can use LRT not only during the weekend but also for daily activities," Minister Sumadi remarked.
Director General of Railways at the Ministry of Transportation Zulfikri noted that the tariff is set at some Rp5,000 per person and will be reviewed in accordance with the community's ability to access mass transit.
In traveling, time and cost are the two aspects that hold importance. People can opt for which time is the shortest and what is the cheapest.
According to Zulkifli, in the early stages of operation, the LRT tariff for the city's commuters is set at around Rp5,000, while the route to the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Airport Station is around Rp20 thousand.
The tariff is temporary as in the early stages of operation, the LRT trains will still receive a subsidy of the public service obligation from the Ministry of Transportation.
South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin noted that the LRT is not merely a means of transport to facilitate the transportation of athletes to the Asian Games 2018 and entourage from the airport to the Jakabaring sports venues but also a solution to the traffic congestion.
"The LRT is also a solution to the congestion issue since based on our study, Palembang will be suffering major gridlocks by 2020. Hence, mass transit is being built now," Governor Nurdin noted.
On the occasion, Minister of Transportation Sumadi and Governor of South Sumatra Noerdin unveiled part of the LRT train series at the Boom Baru Port.
The activity indicates the acceptance of the two train sets of LRT for Palembang City produced by PT Industri Kereta Api (INKA). The activity also indicates the government's willingness to operate the LRT project as soon as possible.
"We took the initiative to accelerate the process, so that it can be completed not in the middle of July 2018 but the start of the month," Sumadi stated.
He explained that the arrival of LRT train sets at the Boom Baru Port on April 11, 2018, from PT INKA in Madiun, East Java, was in accordance with the plan.
In the next stage spanning 14 days, the LRT train sets, each comprising three trains, or wagons, will be arranged until they undergoing testing.
The transportation minister ensured that the Palembang LRT will become operational for the Asian Games to be held on August 18, 2018.
According to Railway Safety Director General Edi Nursalam, the LRT project in Palembang will undergo a series of passenger safety feasibility tests before being used as a mode of mass transit.
Nursalam said the government continues to monitor the project right from its construction phase to meet the passenger safety standards.
"The government continues to monitor this project from the construction to the operational phase, including the facilities and infrastructure," Nursalam noted before the ceremony held to welcome the arrival of LRT train sets at the Boom Baru Port of Palembang.
The Palembang LRT needs special attention, as it uses relatively sophisticated technology.
Its railway lines use the latest technology, so that electricity is not supplied from overhead cables alike that for the KRL electric trains, but from the bottom, as electricity is supplied from underneath the tracks.
In addition, since the South Sumatra LRT railway tracks are similar to a flyover, the tracks are equipped with passages on the left and right sides for ensuring safety standards to tackle train issues.
"Passengers can go down the way, not passing through the rail, as it is dangerous, considering there is an electrical installation there," Nursalam explained.
The Palembang LRT will have eight trains, with a total of 24 wagons. Each train will have three wagons equipped with air-conditioners, CCTV, and free Wi-Fi and can carry 200-300 passengers. The engines are German-derived and directly supervised by the Bombardier's company team. The LRT has the most modern rakes ever produced by the state-owned train manufacturer PT INKA. (A014/INE)
EDITED BY INE