Jakarta. Surabaya is set to break ground on a new tram network towards the end of this year, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said in the East Java capital on Tuesday (28/02).
The 17-kilometer tram route, which will have 29 stations between Rajawali and Joyoboyo, will provide a transportation alternative for the region's 3.4 million residents.
Unlike other cities, such as Jakarta, Bandung and Palembang, which are all currently developing light rail transit systems, Surabaya opted for a tram network, which according to Budi, is intended to evoke memories of the city's old tram service, phased out in 1978.
The new tram service is also intended to become a tourist attraction.
"The tram is meant to evoke a sense of nostalgia in the city. It will connect Surabaya's busiest areas with the expected result of reducing traffic congestion," the minister said during an event at Airlangga University in Surabaya on Tuesday.
Budi said the project will be built under a public-private partnership scheme involving the central government, the Surabaya administration, state-owned railway operator Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) and private companies.
"The total cost of the project will be around Rp 4.5 trillion [$315 million] funded by a public-private partnership scheme," he said.
The central government has allocated Rp 1.5 trillion towards the project, while the rest of the funding will come from the other parties, including private companies who will start the bidding process in May.
"Engineering design details have already been completed, while other preparations will be completed before we do the groundbreaking by the end of this year," Budi said.
Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini said the city is ready for the project and for the bidding process, expected to commence within the three months.
"We're more than ready to synchronize with the Ministry of Transportation for the bidding process," she said.
The project is expected to be completed within two to three years.
"By the time it's operating, the fares would likely be subsidized by the government, unless our study finds that it is not necessary," Budi said.