A consortium of five state-owned enterprises (SOE) launched on Monday a mock-up of a locally-made monorail at the facilities of state train-maker PT INKA in Madiun, East Java.
As well as PT INKA the consortium includes construction firm PT Adhi Karya, toll-road operator PT Jasa Marga, electronics maker PT LEN Industri and telecommunications provider PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom).
The monorail is part of a Rp 12 trillion (US$1.23 billion) project.
The SOEs are working to produce monorail trains, which, they claim, would be cheaper than foreign systems. Monorail is being touted as part of a solution to traffic congestion in major Indonesian cities.
SOE Minister Dahlan Iskan told the media that a complete monorail system able to accommodate trains with a capacity of 200 passengers would cost some Rp 7 trillion. This would cover rolling stock, precast concrete guide beams, power and control lines, signaling, ticketing, passenger information and control systems.
Dahlan was unable to break down the cost of each sub-system as they were still being calculated but said that state-owned Bank Mandiri would finance the project. 'Compared to the mass rapid transit [MRT] which requires around Rp 200 billion per kilometer to build, monorail is cheaper because it costs only half that amount,' said Dahlan.
The ministry is currently waiting for a permit from the central government to build a monorail in the Greater Jakarta area stretching some 36 kilometers with routes linking Cawang and East Bekasi, Cibubur and Kuningan.
The permit, according to Dahlan, is essential because the routes will cover three regions.
Also attending the launch was Transportation Deputy Minister Bambang Susantono who said the government was currently drafting a legal platform so the SOEs would not be required to follow a bidding process as per Presidential Decrees No. 13/2010 and No. 56/2011.
'This is a pressing and urgent situation. Resolving traffic congestion in Jakarta is a pressing matter. Existing laws allow SOEs to be directly assigned by the central government in accordance with their respective authorities. This will be the base for their exemption from following a tender process,' said Bambang.
If the government issued the permit, the locally built monorail system, could start operating in the next two to three years at the latest.
PT Adhi Karya president director Kiswo Dharmawan, who leads the consortium, said PT INKA would start producing 98 monorail cars upon the permit issuance.
'This is based on calculations of five-minute headway over a distance of 36 kilometers,' he said.
The consortium predicts that some 20 percent of private car owners would shift to using the air-conditioned monorail. The system has also been offered to the cities of Bandung, Surabaya and Palembang.
The consortium will also work together with state airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II and state port operator PT Pelindo II to build an automated people mover system (APM) at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport worth Rp 2.5 trillion and an automatic container transporter (ACT), a special monorail for containers, also worth Rp 2.5 trillion.
'When realized, the ACT will be the first in the world. The ACT will be able to carry containers from the stockyard or dry port to the port directly without passing highways so it could save time and ease traffic congestion as well,' Dahlan said.
He insisted that the APM at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport would be complete in the next 18 months as it did not require a government permit.