MRT Jakarta Ready to Serve Better
MRT Jakarta has been operating for four years. Users expect MRT Jakarta to continue to improve the quality of its service, punctuality and travel safety.
Wulansari (36), a resident of Rawa Belong, West Jakarta, who has an office in Fatmawati, South Jakarta, uses MRT Jakarta as a mode of transportation to her office. From home, she rides the app-based ojek (motorcycle taxis) to Istora Station, then takes the MRT to Fatmawati Station. Wulansari is satisfied because the arrival and departure of the car is always on time.
"From the waiting time, there is no problem. Clean enough. The security is also good and many security officers are also deployed," she said.
She is hopeful that MRT Jakarta will add lift facilities for pregnant women, the elderly, passengers with baby carriages and wheelchair users. "It already exists, but hopefully it can be added because their rights must also be observed, “she said.
Aji Aditya (43), a creative worker who lives in Depok, West Java, often has to meet his clients in Blok M, South Jakarta. "Since there is an MRT, I choose to park my car at Depok Baru Station, take a commuter train, and then change MRT at Sudirman Station-Dukuh Atas Station. I am not tired during the trip. The car is comfortable," he said.
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With a track of 16 kilometers stretching from Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta, to Bundaran HI, Central Jakarta, passengers get a satisfying travel experience. "In fact, if I say so, it has already matched Singapore's MRT. Our public transportation problem is a matter of punctuality, security and safety. With MRT Jakarta, I can determine my travel time," said Aji.
Providing service with an international standard is not as easy as turning one's hand. Remember, when the MRT started operating, precisely on March 24, 2019, there were many passengers who were shocked by the MRT service.
Our public transportation problem is a matter of punctuality, security and safety.
At the time, passengers threw trash carelessly. There were also naughty children hanging on handrails in the cars. Not to mention passengers who did not queue up, and ate and drank in the car.
"During the early period of its operation, we were on standby for 24 hours a day. We were reliable in operating the cars, but not in service. Our service was a mess,” PT MRT Jakarta’s Operations and Maintenance Director Muhammad Effendi said on Thursday (16/3/2023).
Learning from mistakes
After encountering a lot of mistakes and problems and also in efforts to improve the quality of service, operation and maintenance of infrastructure facilities, Effendi thought that MRT Jakarta should learn from other MRT operators that have been tested. An MRT team went to Japan to learn about the proper maintenance of facilities and infrastructure, to Hong Kong to learn operational management, to Singapore to learn construction, and to India and Thailand to learn about safety and security. "In Thailand and India, for the worst security, we learned from them," said Effendi.
MRT Jakarta also sent a team to Malaysia to learn how to drive the cars, then to South Korea and found that operators in those countries use technology in the form of robots in the operation of the MRT.
"We adopted good practices, established standard operating procedures, guides and manuals that could support service, operation and maintenance. Now we have our own qibla [direction] in MRT operation, the qibla of Indonesia," said Effendi.
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As a result, after serving the people in the capital city and its surroundings for four years, MRT Jakarta has not only changed the face of Jakarta, but also the pattern of intermodal transportation services with transportation integration to the point of encouraging physical integration.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) also highlighted the hard work of MRT Jakarta in providing its service from zero to the present point. JICA appreciated the success of MRT Jakarta, enabling it to share experiences with new MRT operators in Southeast Asia and South Asia. It could also serve as a strategy to enter the international market. With the success, JICA entrusted MRT Jakarta to become a place for new MRT operators in Southeast Asia and South Asia to learn management and problem-solving. In October 2022, a new operator from Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh Metro, became the first to learn from MRT Jakarta, followed by Dhaka Metro, Bangladesh, in March 2023.
Shigeo Honzu, JICA's representative for Indonesia, in the opening of the training for the Dhaka Metro team, revealed the initial condition of MRT Jakarta’s operation. However, MRT Jakarta managed to overcome them through difficult times. "MRT Jakarta, with experience, knowledge and success in overcoming problems, will be useful for Dhaka Metro to learn from," said Honzu.
Separately, head of the Jakarta City Transportation Chamber (DTKJ), Haris Muhammadun, said it was quite right that the MRT Jakarta with its current capabilities became a leader in Southeast Asia, outside of Singapore and South Asia. MRT Jakarta can be used as a model for other countries, which have not yet developed the MRT, such as Bangladesh.
"Taking this role should be done because it is indeed part of the extensification of MRT Jakarta's entrepreneurship," said Haris.
Head of the Indonesian Transportation Society's Rail and Intercity Transportation Forum, Aditya Dwi Laksana, said Jakarta's MRT effort is in line with its mission to become a reference and guide for the development of railways, especially of MRTs in other developing countries.
Coincidentally, Indonesia is the first to develop the MRT that was adopted from Japan, making MRT Jakarta a learning place for the advancement of public transportation in Indonesia.
This article was translated by Hendarsyah Tarmizi.