Jakarta MRT

Jakarta, Indonesia | C.2019

Photo Credit: Kevin Al Sheridan

Today it’s easier than ever to get around Indonesia’s most populous city. Within the last decade, the city has constructed its first subway system, the Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit, or Jakarta MRT. Known locally as “Ratangga,” which means war chariot in the ancient Javanese language, the Jakarta MRT officially opened on March 24, 2019 and operates 285 trips daily from 5am to midnight.

With 10 million residents, Indonesia’s capital city has been dealing with increased traffic jams for decades. In fact, an estimated four million residents commute to and from the city each day! Until the introduction of the MRT, Jakarta’s public transportation consisted mainly of taxis and the TransJakarta, the world’s longest bus transit.

The Jakarta MRTwas first proposed 40 years ago, but it wasn’t until former Governor Joko Widodos called for action in 2012 that the project moved forward. Now covering over 10 miles, there are 13 stations in the first phase of the MRT. The stations start in the southern city of Lebak Bulus and stretch to the central city of Sisingamangaraja. When complete, the MRT is expected to cover 67 miles.

The MRT has garnered favorable reviews, with passengers reporting that the cars are modern and polished. Traveling speeds upwards of 80 kph (50 mph), the ride is quick, smooth, and comfortable. Currently, the MRT has an average daily ridership of 95,000 across its 10 operating lines. Phase 2 of the MRT began in March 2019 with tunneling slated to begin later this year.

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