Bandung, West Java (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurated the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway (KCJB), dubbed "Whoosh", on Monday, marking the beginning of its operation as Indonesia's newest transportation mode after five years of preparation.The train, said to have the same system and technology as its country of manufacture, namely China, will operate on a freeway rail, achieving a travel speed of up to 350 kilometers (km) per hour. Whoosh is poised to become a new transportation milestone in Indonesia. Operated by the two-country consortium, PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China (KCIC), Whoosh will offer more diverse and efficient travel options between Jakarta and Bandung. In fact, the introduction of this high-speed train is expected to alleviate traffic congestion on the highways connecting the two cities, covering a distance of around 145 km. With the operation of this high-speed train, travel time between Jakarta and Bandung will be reduced to less than an hour, down from the previous three-hour journey. This shift will also encourage a move from private vehicles usage to public transportation. With a top speed of 350 km per hour, Whoosh can complete a trip from Tegalluar Station in Bandung District, West Java, to Halim Station in Jakarta in approximately 45 minutes. The time excluded two stops between Tegalluar and Halim stations, namely Padalarang and Karawang stations. During the trial period, the train did not stop at Padalarang and paused at Karawang for five minutes. The total travel time, including stops at Padalarang and Karawang, may extend to 60 minutes. In comparison with private vehicles, the one-hour travel time equates to the journey from Cimindi Station in the western part of Bandung City to the Bandung City-Bandung District border in Cibiru, located in the eastern part of Bandung City, or from Ledeng Terminal in north Bandung to the Buahbatu Toll Gate in southern Bandung City. ;hr class="content-paginDespite reaching speeds of 350 km per hour, passengers reported no noticeable shaking during the journey.Regarding fares, the train, equipped with the Chinese Train Control System (CTSC) level 3 (the first outside the manufacturing country), is considered competitive compared to other modes of transportation currently available. It is estimated that Whoosh's tariff is around Rp250,000 (approximately US$16.10) for premium economy class and Rp350,000 thousand for first class. With these tariffs, Whoosh is the most expensive means of public transportation between Jakarta and Bandung when compared to other modes, such as buses priced between Rp75,000 and Rp100,000; shuttle, Rp120,000-Rp160,000; or trains, Rp150,000-Rp250,000. However, this fast train offers a short travel time and more comfortable facilities. Compared to private cars, the expenses are relatively similar for toll fees and fuel. However, traveling by car largely depends on traffic conditions, leading to unpredictable travel times. The journey usually takes 2.5 to 3 hours. ccessibility With various travel options, Whoosh provides an alternative choice for commuters traveling between these two major cities due to its time-effectiveness and the facilities it offers. However, the stations of this fast train line are situated on the outskirts of the cities, whether in Bandung or Jakarta, taking into consideration developments in the areas surrounding the stations. ;hr class="content-paginUnder these conditions, an additional trip from the station to the final destination is still necessary. This requires the involvement of various parties in facilitating people's access to Whoosh stations.The Halim Station in Jakarta has access to DI Pandjaitan Road, a Jabodebek LRT station, BRT Transjakarta and BRT JR Connexion feeders, shuttle feeders from Halim Airport, and microtrans. Preparation for access to a toll gate is also underway. The Padalarang station, located in West Bandung District, also has quite good access with integration from the Padalarang Train Station, which has feeder trains to Cimahi and Bandung City. It also has access to the Padalarang National Road and the Padalarang-Cisarua Provincial Road, with access to two toll gates currently in preparation. The next station is Tegalluar Station in Bandung District, which serves as the final stop for the fast train. Some preparations have been made for the accessibility of this station, including the Cibiru Hilir Bridge connecting to Gedebage in Bandung, access to the KM 151 A toll exit to Cileunyi, the toll drop zone at KM 151 B to Bandung, connections to Cimekar and Gedebage train stations, and shuttle bus. However, access at Tegalluar and Karawang stations has not been fully completed. For Tegalluar Station, the only available access has been the Cibiru Hilir bridge, a shuttle bus by Damri to the Damri Gedebage pool, and a shuttle bus by Big Bird to Summarecon Bandung Mall. Meanwhile, in Karawang, KCIC is still working on adequate access. ;hr class="content-paginRegarding this matter, state-run railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) Operational Region (Daop) 2 in Bandung stated that the Tegalluar fast train station has now been integrated with Gedebage Station using a shuttle bus from Damri, while the Cimekar Station, which is closer, has not been integrated with any means of public transportation besides conventional or online motorbike taxis."Actually, we have integrated the Tegalluar Station with Gedebage Station by shuttle buses from Damri. However, it is still not optimal because there is no feeder train," said Mahendro Trang Bawono, public relations manager of KAI Daop 2 Bandung, stated on September 29. He added that for Cimekar Station, the accessibility is harder even though it is closer. "Integration for rail-based connectivity is possible, but not in the near future," he said. He emphasized the need for all related parties to prepare proper access roads from Tegalluar to Cimekar and Gedebage stations, or other destinations, as a supporting mode of transportation to various areas in Greater Bandung. With various existing conditions, Whoosh still faces challenges. KCIC and the government need to maximize the potential of this newest mode of public transportation in Indonesia. Moreover, this high-speed railway is expected to serve as a driving force for economic growth in West Java.
Source: Antara News Agency