March 26, 2019
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Jakarta opens first metro line to public after decades of delays

Jakarta, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- Jakarta on Tuesday kicked off a free public trial of its first metro service, a transport network which was first planned in the 1990's and has been a much-anticipated project due to the chronic traffic jams in the Indonesian capital.

The Mass Rapid Transit system started operating on Tuesday with an initial daily limit of 4,000 passengers, which will be increased to 28,800 by the last day of trials on Mar. 24.

The company expects a total of 285,600 people to participate in this first phase, which requires advance registration, while about 135,000 passengers are expected per day on average during the week once the metro starts normal operations.

PT MRT Jakarta said in a statement that 190,599 passengers had already registered for the trials.

Dozens of passengers of different age groups were captured by an EFE-EPA photojournalist traveling on some of the seven trains running on Tuesday. No incidents were reported on the opening day of the trials.

The first 16-kilometer (10 miles) stretch of the metro, which will be extended in successive construction phases, runs through the capital from north to south connecting the area near the iconic Hotel Indonesia to Lebak Bulus and passes through the commercial center of the city.

The duration of the ride is 30 minutes, which shortens usual rush-hour travel time by up to an hour.

The trains, built by Japanese company Nippon Sharyo, can reach a maximum speed of 80 kph in underground tunnels and 100 kph on elevated stretches.

Each train has a capacity of around 2,000 passengers.

Jakarta is one of the top three traffic-congested cities in the world, according to a traffic index developed by the navigation systems company TomTom.

The Indonesian capital and its satellite cities Tangerang, Bogor, Bekasi and Depok (Jabodetabek) are home to more than 30 million people, many of whom use their vehicles to travel to and from Jakarta.

Suburban trains and the TransJakarta bus rapid transit system are currently the only public transport options for residents of Jabodetabek, although the first section of the Light Rail Transit is set to resume in late March, connecting the north of Jakarta to the east.

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