Jakarta. Since entering service on March 24, the MRT in Jakarta has transported nearly 20 million commuters, proving once again that residents of the capital and its satellite cities still long for and badly need reliable public transportation to help them go about their daily business.
MRT Jakarta, the municipally-owned operator of the network, revealed a total of 19,990,950 passengers had caught the underground and overground line running from the Bundaran HI Station in Central Jakarta to the Lebak Bulus Station in South Jakarta until Nov. 26.
"Many Jakarta residents have shown a preference to use the MRT to commute," MRT Jakarta president director William Sabandar told reporters on Monday.
The number of daily passengers on the 20-kilometer long, 13-station, MRT line averages 83,516 people already, well above the target of 65,000 passengers.
"When the MRT's punctuality was still around 50 percent, we started seeing more passengers. Now with 100 percent punctuality, the number grows even faster," William said.
The company estimated that the number of daily passengers will hit 110,000 people next year and climb to 130,000 by 2021.
"The Jakarta MRT is world-class, comparable to similar systems in [foreign] cities. When a premium public transportation service is made available, many people will begin to leave their cars," William said.
To attract even more passengers, the company will connect the MRT stations to the city's bus network Transjakarta, its Commuterline railway system and the soon-to-be-launched Jakarta LRT.
It also plans to build more parking lots near the stations to encourage more car owners to hop on the MRT.
The Jakarta MRT is still at its initial stage. A project is underway to extend the current North-South line by another 5.8 kilometers to Kota, before reaching the final stop in Ancol, North Jakarta.
After the North-South line is completed in 2025, an East-West line will be built to bring the total MRT network up to 108 kilometers.