Train Fare Bump Gets Jeers From Commuters
Ahead of a planned fare increase, angry commuters are calling for state-run railway firm Kereta Api Indonesia to cut prices on its trains serving the Greater Jakarta area, and the company appears to be listening.
KAI subsidiary Kereta Jabodetabek Commuter said last month that it would stop running expensive express trains in favor of more economy-class ones in the hopes of increasing ridership.
After already being delayed in March, the new plan is set be implemented on Saturday. However, many area residents who rely on the train have expressed anger over the company’s decision to do away with express trains while increasing the cost of an economy-class ticket, which currently runs commuters Rp 1,500 to Rp 4,500 (17 cents to 52 cents).
The new fares could go as high as Rp 9,000. That anger has prompted KAI to rethink its fare increases with an eye toward making them less severe, spokesman Mateta Rijalulhaq said.
“We have decided to reduce the train fare to a reasonable rate that can be accepted by the public and can help finance the company’s operating costs at the same time,” he said.
“The Jakarta-Bogor route, for instance, will be reduced from Rp 9,000 to Rp 7,000, or Jakarta-Depok from Rp 8,000 to Rp 6,000. The slight drop in price is doing little to appease commuters, who welcome paying a higher fare to ride in greater comfort and speed.
“I take a KRL Express train to get to Jakarta faster than I would in a bus or in my own car. The new pricing system, which implemented one single fare and stopovers in every station, is both really inefficient and yet very expensive,” said Angga Setiawan, 28, a Bogor resident.
He expressed frustration that he would be forced to spend longer amounts of time on his daily train commute while paying more for what he said was the same old economy-class.
Tickets for the air-conditioned express trains range from Rp 4,500 to Rp 11,000 depending on the route. Express service trains also stop at just a few stations, unlike economy-class trains.
Rosita Primandari, 18, an economy passenger from Bekasi, said that despite KAI’s announcement, the higher fare would still increase her financial burden heavily.
“I do not take the express train. I use the economy class, for which I only pay Rp 1,500, but I heard the new train fare will be raised to as much as Rp 6,000. I need to ask more money from my parents then,” she said.
Indah Anggraini, a regular rider from Depok, voiced concern that despite the higher fares, mechanical problems resulting in long delays would still continue to plague the railways trains.
KAI operates three classes of commuter train services between Jakarta and its satellite cities of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi.
The two cheaper ones, served by economy and air-conditioned economy trains, stop at every station along the route.
The third, the express service, stops at just a few stations and is the most expensive, enjoyed by upper middle-class workers across Greater Jakarta popular The new fares will be implemented by July 2.
”Express train ticket prices will be reduced once the express trains are converted to economy class. In addition to the poor service and inconsistent pricing policy, the company is also short of railway cars to accommodate hundreds of thousands of commuting passengers everyday, said Indah Anggraini, 33, who lives in Depok.
“Many people know that economy train often encounters mechanical problems and we have to wait for over half an hour until it moves again. If we pay for the same amount of money but we do not get a better service, I will say that it is not fair at all,” she said.
“Therefore, it might be better if the government adds more fleet.” With more trains as backup, the company will always have a replacement when one train is broken and need to be repaired, she said.
“With more fleets, if there is a problem, it can be solved easily.”