Surabaya, E. Java, (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) announced on Saturday, that all vehicles are free to use the Suramadu (Surabaya-Madura) bridge without toll fee.
The 5.4 kilometer bridge spanning the sea between this East Java capital and the Madura island is now a non toll bridge, the President said here.
"On requests from various circles today the Suramadu toll bridge was changed in status to becomes ordinary non toll bridges," Jokowi said.
The Head of State said he hoped the change in status of the bridge, which started operation in 2009, will contribute to accelerating the economic growth of Madura.
He said more investment would be drawn to the island and property and tourism sectors are expected to grow faster.
"The toll bridge has contributed to the state income but the income is not comparable to potential economic gain as a result of the change in status. The decision (of changing the status) is to give justice for the people of Madura," he said.
In 2015, on request from Madura community leaders, the government exempted motorcycles from the toll fee, and in 2016 the government cut the toll fee by 50 percent for cars.
However, the decision was not enough to boost the economy of Madura, which is the poorest district in East Java.
Poverty ratio is high at 16-23 percent in Madura as against only 4.6 percent in various other areas in East Java, Jokowi said.
Earlier the toll fees were Rp30,000 (US$2.00) for small passenger cars, SUVs, vans and pick-up trucks and Rp60,000 for big trucks and Rp90,000 for container trucks.
Source: ANTARA News