The Jakarta Post
KAI officially launched the KA Solo Express route from Surakarta to Yogyakarta and Kutoarjo on May 17. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)
State railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) has officially launched the KA Solo Ekspres, which will cater to passengers traveling between Adi Soemarmo International Airport in Boyolali regency and Solo Balapan Station in Surakarta.
"As the railway [for the airport train] is not yet ready, the KA Solo Ekspres will help the service of the KA Prameks," KAI director of operations Slamet Suseno Priyanto said during the launch event in Surakarta.
The train will temporarily serve the route that passes through Solo Balapan Station in Surakarta, Tugu Station in Yogyakarta and Kutoarjo Station in Kutoarjo. Tickets from Solo to Yogyakarta cost Rp 30,000 (US$2.14), while tickets from Solo to Kutoarjo cost Rp 40,000.
The KA Solo Ekspres consists of four cars that can accommodate 393 passengers in total, including 200 sitting passengers. It will operate two trips from Surakarta, at 8:40 a.m. and 3:40 p.m., and two return trips from Kutoarjo, at 11:15 a.m. and 6:25 p.m.
Slamet said the train would also serve as transportation for Idul Fitri by operating from June 5 to 26. Then, the Kutoarjo-Solo trip will cost Rp 60,000, while the Kutoarjo-Tugu and Solo-Tugu trips will each cost Rp 45,000.
"The KA Solo Ekspres is an attractive alternative other than KA Prameks for the same route. The travel time will be faster. The train is also cozier and disabled-friendly," said Slamet.
The interior of the KA Solo Express. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)
Transportation Ministry traffic and train director Zulfikri said the new train was expected to be able to accommodate a high demand for the Surakarta-Yogyakarta-Kutoarjo route.
"The three cities along the route have continued to grow, either in terms of economic activity, administration or tourism. They need to be supported with a massive transportation [system] that is efficient, comfortable and affordable," said Zulfikri.
From May 17 to 21, up to 200 passengers will be able to travel for free using the KA Solo Ekspres from Solo Balapan Station to Kutoarjo Station.
"We will implement a zero-fare [policy] during its first four days of operation. After that, the ticket price will be Rp 30,000 for Surakarta to Yogyakarta and Rp 40,000 for Surakarta to Kutoarjo," said the KAI public relations manager of Yogyakarta operational region (Daop) VI, Eko Budiyanto.
Meanwhile, Surakarta Mayor FX Hadi "Rudy" Rudyatmo, noting that Surakarta was developing into a tourist destination, said that the KA Solo Ekspres could help bring a positive impact to the city.
"The people of Surakarta have been waiting for the KA Solo Ekspres for so long. Hopefully, it will complement the current Surakarta-Yogyakarta service provided by KA Prameks," said Rudy. (kes)