The Jakarta Post
The government will hold an open tender to select a company that will operate a high-speed train service connecting Jakarta and Bandung, the country's chief economic minister has said.
Speaking following a limited Cabinet meeting in Jakarta on Monday, Coordinating Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil said the government would appoint an independent party that would determine the criteria for the selection of the winner to prevent a conflict of interest.
'We will make [a kind of] beauty contest to ensure the best will win,' Sofyan told a press conference after the meeting that was led by President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo. 'Therefore, the government will soon hire a consultant from a third country who does not pose any conflict of interest, as some kind of a referee.'
In addition to the proposed high-speed train service, the Cabinet meeting also discussed the country's planned light rail transit (LRT) development.
Express train operators have expressed interest in operating the planned Jakarta-Bandung express train service. The train operators have conducted a feasibility study on the planned high-speed train project.
Both China and Japan have been competing for a stronger influence in Indonesia's economy, especially with regard to infrastructure development, one of the priorities of the government.
According to Sofyan, the criteria for the assessment in the selection of the operator of the express train would be determined by the consultant.
Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan said the government would determine its routes and where the railway started and ended.
As for the LRT, Sofyan said the government would draft two presidential decrees appointing the Jakarta administration and PT Adhi Karya to start constructing two different LRT projects, respectively in the capital and its outskirt areas.
After construction is complete, the government would buy the two projects using the state budget.
'Later [after the projects are complete] the railway operator will be determined in an open tender,' Jonan added.
The operation of the bullet train to connect Jakarta and Bandung will be able to reduce travel time for the 150-kilimeter route to about 45 minutes from about three hours at present.
During Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's presidency, the Indonesian and Japanese governments agreed to conduct a detailed feasibility study on adopting Japan's Shinkansen high-speed rail technology to connect Jakarta and Surabaya.
According to Jonan, the Jakarta administration's LRT project would meet the intermodality given that it would connect other transportation modes, such as the existing KRL Jakarta commuter train and busway, as well as the Jakarta MRT, which is under ongoing construction.
In his opening speech at the meeting, Jokowi highlighted the importance of 'prioritizing its development', arguing that the train was cheap and efficient transportation.
Jokowi also called for the establishment of a Jabodetabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Depok-Tangerang) Land Transportation Authority (LTA).
Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama, who also attended Monday's meeting, said Jakarta expected the LTA to be formed soon.
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