State railway operator Kereta Api Indonesia plans to replace all economy trains in the Greater Jakarta area with air-conditioned commuter trains by the end of the year, a spokesman said.
“We had hoped that the plan would be completed sooner but there are still many things to be discussed,” Mateta Rizalulhaq, the Jakarta spokesman for the operator known as KAI, told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday.
Mateta said they had already started using commuter trains for the Tangerang route.
“It's all part of our plan to achieve single-class and a single-tariff service and to ensure the safety of our passengers,” he said.
KAI has also announced plans to serve 1.2 million passengers a day by 2018. The railway operator currently serves up to 500,000 passengers a day with 451 trips.
Mateta said that most of the economy trains operating in the Greater Jakarta area were in poor condition and often suffered from engine or signal problems.
“Most trains that broke down were economy trains, and when one train broke down, the whole trip would be interrupted, we can't let that happen again, besides, it is acutely uncomfortable to be on an economy train, the doors are jammed, and there are holes everywhere,” he said.
He added that he expected the number of fatalities from people climbing onto the roof of economy trains to drop, once the upgrades were complete.
“Many people who died were the roof riders and most roof riders only got on the economy train, they did not dare to ride the commuter trains' roofs,” he said.
Mateta said KAI had already begun installing electronic gate devices to support the electronic ticketing system, which is due to be completed this month. The railway operator has also started construction to extend the length and the width of the platform at all train stations.