Jakarta Gets a Rival In Race to Build MRT
Reuters & AFP, Kuala Lumpur - 20/12/2010
Jakarta has a new and potentially embarrassing regional competitor in the race to build a traffic-busting MRT system.
While Jakarta’s plans are now a quarter of a century old and still only on the drawing board, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced over the weekend that Kuala Lumpur was to start work on its Mass Rapid Transit system in July and aims to have it running in six years.
The 36 billion ringgit ($11.5 billion) project, part of the government’s economic transformation plan, will link the city’s disparate commuter lines, he said.
Malaysian builders Gamuda and MMC are managing the rail contract that will be the country’s largest infrastructure project.
The new line from the city’s northwestern perimeter to the southeast will pass through many densely populated suburbs that are not served by the inner city light-rail transit system.
Much of the city’s workforce lives in these areas, forcing commuters to take to Kuala Lumpur’s congested roads, creating daily gridlock.
The line will take six years to complete, Najib said, and is expected to transport more than 400,000 passengers every day, as well as creating 130,000 jobs during construction.
The first phase of Jakarta’s long-awaited MRT, due to begin next year, is scheduled to open in 2016 and serve 350,000 passengers a year. With Kuala Lumpur’s new MRT, 50 percent of transport users will be using rail as their main public transport, Najib said.
The project is part of Najib’s initiative unveiled in September to transform the economy over the next decade, with the aim of creating 3.3 million jobs and propelling the country toward developed-nation status.