Mrt to Help Boost Jakarta Property Business

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Because the current Transjakarta Busway, the capital’s newest mode of public transportation, still cannot help its reduce traffic jams, the Jakarta City government through PT Mass Rapid Transit Jakarta has planned to establish Mass Rapid Transportation (MRT) in Jakarta with light-rail or heavy-rail transit systems.

MRT Jakarta will provide an alternative public transportation mode which is reliable, rapid, safe and convenient. Hopefully, easier travelling in the area will have a positive impact on its economic growth and improve the quality of the life of its population.

MRT construction work may create about 48,000 new jobs. Its travel time on certain roads will be shortened. With MRT Jakarta passengers need only 30 minutes to reach Hotel Indonesia (Centra Jakarta) from Lebak Bulus (South Jakarta) during peak hours, or about one or two hours below the current travel time.

MRT Jakarta is also expected to have a positive impact on the environment. At the moment, the current 0.7% of total CO2 emission, or about 93,663 tons per year, can be reduced with the operation of MRT Jakarta. Moreover, MRT Jakarta will also help increase public transportation capacity in the city. After coming into operation for three years, the carrying capacity of the planned MRT which serves the Lebak Bulus-Hotel Indonesia Intersection route will be expected to rise to about 412,000 passengers per day provided that MRT stations are adequately linked to public activity centers like office compounds, commercial and non-commercial centers. With such MRT many more people will be able to visit shopping centers and eventually will cause a rise in office building occupancy. The existence of MRT will be closely related to the growth of properties in Jakarta. According to Glenn J. Rufrano, President and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield Inc., improved quality of infrastructures in the city will surely have a positive impact on its property sector.

“The government should provide infrastructures such as reliable power supply, ports (seaport/airport), roads, which are keys to the industrial investment. The success of this investment will boost demand for property: from basic needs like housing to property investment likes office spaces, condominiums and hotels,” Rufrano said.

But, before the MRT plan was materialized, Tony Ibanez, a public policy professor from Harvard University said that MRT was not the best alternative to reduce traffic congestions in Jakarta. Instead of MRT, he said, the current TransJakarta Busway is more suitable for Jakarta which has a vast territory and dense population. So he suggested tha the Jakarta City administration improve TransJakarta Busway.

“Building MRT is so costly. It reaches Rp1 trillion per kilometer and meets only a small portion of existing demand. With MRT, only 200.000-300.000 passengers can be transported daily while in 2012 there will be 37 million travels daily. MRT can absorb only 1% of them,” Ibanez said.

He views that TransJakarta is the best transportation mode for the capital because it can be established in a relatively short time and cover so many routes. “Unfortunately, at this time TransJakarta operates below its real capacity. Actually, this problem can be easily solved among others by increasing the number of gas fuel filling stations for TransJakarta buses,” said in Ibanez during his visit to Jakarta late last month.

Ibanez noted that solving transportation problems merely by establishing new transportation modes would be too costly. “The best way is improve existing infrastructures and increase efficiency in their management,” he noted.

In response to Ibanez, Danang Parikesit, general chairman of Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI), said that Jakarta needs both TransJakarta and MRT. He said both modes have strengths and weaknesses. “The main strength of MRT is its capacity to change city planning. The development of areas around MRT stations is a major point in MRT development. This is an important matter. With poor spatial planning, MRT will become useless,” Danang said.

Meanwhile, PT MRT Director Eddi Santoso told Asian Property Investment that cities like Jakarta absolutely need MRT and that it will add to TransJakarta Busway.

“How many buses are needed to transport 45,000 people per route per hour with buses arriving at each station every two minutes? The answer is 15 buses per two minutes. And how many routes are needed to enable buses to travel at the same time? With MRT, we need only 30 train sets if each of them has six wagons per route,” Eddi said.

Eddi said further that BRT investment does not differ much from MRT investment if measured by their utilization period. MRT infrastructures are designed for 100 years while their transportation modes are designed for 15-40 years. “With same utilization periods, BRT investments do not differ much from MRT investments,” Eddi said.

MRT Jakarta is planned to have a total length of 10.7 kilometers, and it will be built in three phases. Phase one will be the building of the Jakarta corridor which is 27 kilometers long; phase two will be the Jakarta-Bekasi-Cikarang route which is 18-30 kilometers long; and phase three is the Jakarta-Tangerang-Karawaci route which is 16-25 kilometers long.

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