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Ticket to ride: People line up to buy tickets to Central and East Java at Senen station in Central Jakarta, on Tuesday. Identification cards must now be shown during purchase and each person is allowed a maximum of four tickets. JP/P.J. Leo
Commuters have welcomed the termination, since July 1, of the economy-class train serving the Jakarta-Tangerang route, which is aimed at boosting the quality of railway services.
Sari, a 60-year-old beautician, said on Tuesday that the safety of passengers had improved after the termination of the economy-class train and its replacement with an air-conditioned commuter train.
“There used to be many beggars and buskers. But now, they are all gone,” said Sari, who travels almost every day to a beauty salon nearby Pesing station in West Jakarta.
State railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (PT KAI) used to operate two air-conditioned commuter trains and one economy-class train for the Jakarta-Tangerang route before July 1. Since then, the company has operated three commuter trains.
Sari, who lives in Poris, Tangerang, said that she was willing to spend extra money for the commuter train because of its punctuality, safety and cleanliness.
The fare for the Jakarta-Tangerang commuter train is Rp 5,500 (US 50 cents), far higher than Rp 1,000 for the economy-class train. KAI said recently that it planned to raise the commuter-train tariff by Rp 2,000 in October.
Nurmayanti, a resident of Kebon Nanas, Tangerang, said that she decided to take a commuter train, instead of bus, from Tangerang to Duri in West Jakarta so that her daughter could enjoy the scenery during the train ride.
While waiting for the train to board, she struck up a conversation with another woman who was taking her family on a trip due to the school holidays.
“My child said that he was bored staying at home, so me and my husband decided to take a little train ride from our house in Kali Deres to Tangerang,” the other woman told Nurmayanti.
After the train left Tangerang station on Tuesday morning, the scene inside the train resembled a picnic, as some passengers got their breakfast and some children ran from one corner to another.
The clean and spacious train seemed to make passengers feel comfortable, with some of them removing flip flops and putting their feet on seats.
The ride also proved to be popular among children as they played with their siblings while taking in the scenery. Other children were nibbling on snacks and drinking milk while their parents chatted with their friends.
After leaving Tangerang, the commuter train made several stops, including those in the densely-populated areas of Batu Ceper, Poris, Kali Deres, Rawa Buaya, Bojong Indah and Pesing before ending at Duri.
After the train made its last stop, cleaning staff immediately swept rubbish from the floor so that the train looked pristine.
Some passengers then took the city loop line connecting Duri with Jl. Jend. Sudirman and the Tanah Abang, Mampang, Manggarai, Gambir and Jatinegara stations.
Budiman, a security guard at Rawa Buaya station, acknowledged that passengers had so far reacted positively to the replacement of the economy-class train.
“They don’t complain. Some of them have asked the reason behind the replacement, and that’s all,” he said on Tuesday, adding that passengers had noted the improvement of the service in terms of safety and convenience.
The company has improved train infrastructure, reflected by the fact that currently nine train routes in Jakarta (Serpong-Tanah Abang, Parung Panjang-Tanah Abang, Bogor-Kota, Depok-Kota, Bogor-Jatinegara, Depok-Jatinegara, Duri-Tangerang, Bekasi-Kota and Kota-Tanjung Priok) all have double track railways, guaranteeing faster times for train passengers compared to the single track railway.
The improvement in infrastructures is also shown by the expansion of train stations, with PT KAI planning to build five new stations in Roxy, Matraman, Tomang, Kebon Pedes and Bandengan, as well as revitalizing three inactive stations in Mampang Baru, Grogol and Tanah Tinggi. (han/sat)