Monday, October 2, 2023

Gov’t Told to Close Illegal Railroad Crossings

Vinnilya Huanggrio
July 23, 2023 | 7:54 pm
In this undated photo, a passenger train passes a railroad crossing. (Photo courtesy of KAI)
In this undated photo, a passenger train passes a railroad crossing. (Photo courtesy of KAI)

Jakarta. The Indonesian government has been urged to take action and close illegal railroad crossings that pose a risk to public safety. A public policy analyst, Agus Pambagio, emphasized on Sunday the need for immediate action or, alternatively, mandated real estate developers to construct elevated roads or underpasses at railway crossings.

The call for action comes after a recent incident in which a truck broke down on a railroad crossing, leading to a catastrophic collision with an oncoming train and causing significant damage to train carriages. 

Many of these passive railroad crossings lack essential safety features such as gates, warning lights, or alarms, and it is often the responsibility of local governments to address these issues.

“Regional governments have been sidestepping regulations by constructing these crossings without obtaining the necessary permits from the railway directorate general, which represents the transportation minister. These permits usually require a certain amount of financial contribution,” Agus said.


In cases where obtaining permits is not feasible, Agus suggested that regional governments and real estate developers should be obliged to build elevated roads or underpasses where their roads intersect with railways.

Furthermore, it is essential to close down all existing illegal crossings to prevent further accidents and ensure the safety of railway operations. 

Data from the Transportation Ministry indicates that there are approximately 5,000 railroad crossings throughout the country, with 3,121 of them lacking proper safety systems and standby guards, and 628 considered illegal.

The Indonesian Transportation Community (MTI), a non-governmental group, has reported that between 2018 and May 2023, there have been 1,782 accidents at railroad crossings. 

To address these alarming figures, immediate action is necessary to prevent further tragedies, Agus said.

It should be noted that the state-run railway company, Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI), is not obligated to provide safety measures, such as gates, guards, and alarm systems, for crossings they did not construct. 

Therefore, the responsibility primarily falls on the relevant regional authorities and real estate developers to prioritize public safety and implement necessary safety measures at railroad crossings, the analyst said.

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