Jakarta’s MRT open for business

May 6, 2019 / By

Traffic congestion has plagued Jakarta for the past two decades and the city has become synonymous with what is locally referred to as macet. Rapid urbanization and a lack of viable mass transit alternatives are the obvious culprits and the impact on business is significant.

Joko Widodo or Jokowi came to power in 2014 on the back of promises to, amongst other things, invest heavily in infrastructure. This has involved building and upgrading toll roads, power plants, sea ports and airports but in Jakarta, the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stands out as a landmark project. It was completed in March 2019 and is now fully operational.

Jakarta MRT
Map Source: Google Maps, 2019

The MRT’s terminus station is at Lebak Bulus at TB Simatupang in South Jakarta and from there it extends northwards above ground through the Fatmawati, Cipete and Blok M areas before going underground at Senayan. It then extends northwards under Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin before terminating at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in the heart of the city. This underground stretch provides excellent access to numerous commercial and residential projects. As the MRT establishes itself in Jakarta, projects with good access are likely to enjoy a rental/price premium over the rest of the market (other things being equal) while investor interest in development sites close to the MRT is already increasing.

Almost 16 kilometers from end to end, the journey takes 30 minutes. The cheapest ticket costs IDR 3,000 (around USD 0.21) and the most expensive IDR 14,000 (about a dollar) although tickets are half price for the April trial period. The MRT already connects with the airport rail link and will ultimately connect up with the Light Rail Transit (LRT) network which is currently under construction. Phase two of the MRT, which will extend the network further north, is also in the works.

Last but not least the MRT has been extremely well received by local residents who are right to be proud to finally have an international standard transport system. It won’t solve Jakarta’s traffic woes overnight but it is an excellent start!


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