Kalla eager to build monorail system in Bandung
Source: Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung | Sat, 08/06/2011 8:00 AM
Former vice president Jusuf Kalla, on behalf of his company PT Haji Kalla, has expressed his eagerness to invest in a monorail project to minimize traffic congestion in the city of Bandung, West Java.
Kalla and his team met West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan on Friday to present the monorail development plan, which stretches 30 kilometers (km) from the north to the south of Bandung and encircles the city. He hopes the plan will be realized by next year.
“The monorail system is aimed at facilitating residents in Bandung. The city is expanding and attracting many visitors. In a year or two, Bandung’s traffic will be congested [daily] like Jakarta’s; something which is already happening on the weekends,” Kalla told reporters after the meeting, without elaborating.
The Kalla group had earlier signed an agreement to invest around Rp 4 trillion (about US$470 million) to build a 30 km monorail system in Makassar, Sungguminasa and Maros in South Sulawesi. After Bandung, Kalla intends to explore the possibility of building a monorail project in Surabaya, East Java.
Kalla promised to employ local engineers to build the monorail system with the same quality as in Japan and Malaysia. He said his company had already submitted the monorail proposal to the West Java provincial administration some time ago.
Heryawan said an agreement between PT Haji Kalla and former governor Danny Setiawan had previously been signed in 2003 to build the monorail system in Bandung. However, the agreement has expired and must be renewed to realize the plan.
“We just attended a representation on the monorail project offering a cheaper fare structure and local engineering. In principle, I agree. The memorandum of understanding just needs to be renewed,” said Heryawan.
West Java Transportation Office head, Dicky Syaromi, said traffic congestion in Bandung had worsened, predicting that it would be the same as in Jakarta in two to three years’ time. Currently, he added, the average speed of traffic in Bandung only reaches 20 km per hour, so modes of mass transportation are needed to reduce the gridlock.
“It is too slow for a city’s traffic speed. The main thoroughfares have shown up to 80 percent congestion,” said Dicky.
He, however, proposed that investors should not only focus on the north-south route from Dago to Buahbatu and outerlying areas, but also the Bandung basin area and surrounding regencies.
According to Dicky, domestic and overseas investors, including those from Malaysia and France, have submitted at least six mass transportation proposals, including cable cars and monorail, to overcome congestion in Bandung. However, none of them have been realized, despite a 15 percent increase in the number of vehicles on the road, and a 1 percent rise in road construction. Mass transportation is the solution to free Bandung from the worsening congestion, said Dicky.
Dicky deemed that Kalla’s offer was quite feasible because the use of local materials and engineering could limit fares to around RP 7,000 per passenger.
“If foreign engineering and materials are used, fares could amount to Rp 15,000 per passenger. People would still prefer to use motorbikes if transportation fares are expensive. [In which case] how could we minimize the congestion?” he said.
West Java Regional Development Board (Bappeda) head, Deny Juanda Puradimadja, said it would be difficult to attract investment in mass transportation projects due to the lack of clear policies and options being offered.
“The scheme being submitted is a public-private partnership and no one has used the option before,” said Deny.