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Jakarta Post

High costs leave Solo’s new railbus system idle

  • Kusumasari Ayuningtyas

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, March 23 2013   /  11:18 am

The Batara Kresna Railbus commuter train serving Sukoharjo-Surakarta (Solo)-Yogyakarta has been idle for the last five months due to high operational costs and poor ticket sales.

Launched in July 2011 and starting regular operations in August 2012 with great fanfare, the system closed in November.

During its brief tenure, the railbus experienced continued financial losses, as passenger figures were only 10 percent of original estimates. Ticket sales could not cover operational costs, which were up to Rp 3.5 million (US$359) per route per day.

“A subsidy is needed if we want to reopen the railbus, because raising the ticket price will make the service even less attractive,” state-owned railway company PT KAI director Ignasius Jonan said.

A one-way ticket costs Rp 10,000 on the Surakarta-Sukoharjo route, Rp 20,000 on the Surakarta-Yogyakarta route and Rp 30...