Minister travels incognito by train to study problems firsthand

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi traveled in trains incognito, dressed casually and sporting a hat, to find out for himself the actual conditions faced by people using the electric railway and to find solutions.

Minister Sumadi, accompanied by Directorate General of Railway Prasetyo Buditjahjono, on Thursday boarded the Jabodetabek train that passes by the Palmerah, Serpong, Tanah Abang stations.

“I wanted to see the services available to people using electric railway firsthand. This was important as a large number of commuters have started using the service. The travel time from Serpong to the Central region of Jakarta is two hours by road, but it takes half an hour by train, which is why everyone prefers this mode to commute,” he noted.

Accordingly, the minister plans to increase the train frequency along this line during rush hours.

“We will come up with a solution to increase the frequency during peak hours,” he added.

He hoped that railways would become better in the future and help cut down congestion along main roads, especially in big cities such as Jakarta.

Besides, it will encourage people to shift from private vehicles to public transport.

Minister Sumadi also explained the reasons why the construction of double track and the renovation of Manggarai station were experiencing delays.

“The Manggarai Station should have been finished in two years time (but with the delay), it can take up to five years,” he rued.

Seeing a possible delay in construction, he continued, his office will consider all necessary measures to ensure that work continues at top speed even during night time.

Other than observing the condition of trains and stations, he also highlighted the fact that vehicular traffic around railway stations witnessed congestion due to inadequate parking space.

A lot of people had parked their vehicles along roadsides, causing congestion in the area, he observed.

“I saw a lot of cars dropping off passengers by the road side, thus causing a traffic jam. We will review this and find a suitable solution,” he remarked.(*)