The Jakarta Post
The government has decided to allow the Commuter Line rail service to continue operating during the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in Greater Jakarta (Jabodetabek).
Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who is also acting transportation minister, has taken the decision despite growing calls from all regional administrations to temporarily halt the service to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19 transmission.
Media spokesman Jodi Mahardi of Luhut's office said that the Commuter Line would still operate, but with a restricted schedule and reduced passenger capacity.
“Minister Luhut has received reports that the majority of commuter train passengers are workers. We don’t want those who work in the health sector affected if its operation is halted,” Jodi said in a statement on Friday.
The health sector is among the eight sectors deemed "essential" and thus still permitted to operate while the PSBB is in effect. Other essential sectors include the retail food and services sector, energy, logistics and communications.
Jodi said that the office of the coordinating minister was concerned that halting the Commuter Line service that connected Jakarta and its satellite cities would only create new problems.
He added that Luhut had called on the regional administrations of Greater Jakarta to restrict public activities to ensure that the PSBB policy ran effectively during its 14-day period.
“The [PSBB] regulations must serve as the [legal] grounds for supervising and taking actions against companies that violate the PSBB,” Jodi said.
Some regional heads have called for the suspension of the Commuter Line while the PSBB was in effect, as passengers were still crowding Commuter Line stations to travel to the capital for work.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, Bogor Regent Ade Yasin, Bekasi Regent Eka Supria Atmaja, Bekasi Mayor Rahmat Effendy and Bogor Deputy Mayor Dedie A. Rachim had all called on the central government and state-owned train operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI), which runs the Commuter Line, to temporarily halt the commuter rail service.
Regent Ade even alleged that the majority of Bogor residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 had contracted the virus aboard the Commuter Line.
She also cited data from the Bogor COVID-19 task force that the "red zones" of COVID-19 transmission in districts such as Cibinong and Bojonggede were located near railway stations.
“We beseech the central government to listen to our aspirations, as we only want this for the sake of breaking the chain of COVID-19 transmission,” she said as quoted by tempo.co on Friday.