Construction of the LRT project is expected to be completed in October this year. State-run construction company Waskita Karya has been entrusted by the Transportation Ministry to develop the LRT system in Palembang. Waskita was appointed through a presidential regulation signed in late October 2015.
The project is worth Rp10 trillion. Length of the Palembang LRT line is 23.5 kilometers, which includes 13 stations. Travel time will be shortened by 50 percent. The normal travel speed is 90 minutes. However, by using the LRT, the travel time will be only 45 minutes.
Palembang was chosen as the pioneer project due to its potential, which was realized by the investors.
Now the process of installing the elevated rail track has already reached 2.5 kilometers, and the work should be completed soon, South Sumatras provincial administration secretary Nasrun Umar stated recently.
The LRT project is being built ahead of the Asian Games in 2018 to cope with the congestion and traffic jams, especially during peak hours in the city.
The LRT will facilitate the transport of thousands of athletes from all over Asia to take part in the largest sporting event in the continent.
The use of LRT during the 18th Asian Games, however, is just a short-term target, and for the long term, LRT is expected to help support the tourism industry in the capital city of South Sumatra Province.
South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin recently expressed hope that the LRT network, currently being built in Palembang, will enable tourists to enjoy the various attractions in Palembang.
The public, in general, and tourists, in particular, will be able to take the electric train to view the panorama of Palembang, the governor remarked.
The LTR route will cover several tourist attractions, such as historical sites and natural scenery, he noted.
The LRT will start from the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport and pass through the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin Grand Mosque, Ampera Bridge, along Musi River, and the Jakabering sport city. The trains final stop will be near a modern market in Palembang.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has reminded that the LRT tariff in Palembang should be set at an affordable rate for the people.
"The goal of the LRT development is to enable people to switch from using their private vehicles to public means of transportation, such as LRT. Thus, the tariff should be made affordable for all people, for instance, students," Sumadi pointed out while delivering a public lecture at the Sriwijaya University, Palembang, recently.
The minister urged the community to participate in monitoring the progress in development of the project.
"It should not happen that it is used only during the Asian Games and remains idle after that. The LRT is much more efficient in terms of reducing the travel time," he revealed.
According to a plan, the LRT tariff rate in Palembang will be set at about Rp10 thousand.
Palembang is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia. It offers various tourist attractions, such as religious tourism, historical tourism, natural scenery, culinary arts, and unique culture.
This year, Palembang has set a target to attract 1.2 million domestic tourists and 12 thousand foreign tourists.
Last year, some 900 thousand domestic tourists and nine thousand foreign tourists had visited the city.
The Palembang administration will build an inter-mode stop where passengers could change their mode of transportation from LRT to a water bus or vice versa.
To this end, Palembang, which is currently developing river tourism, will also make available five water buses for foreign athletes and officials participating in the games.
Minister Sumadi vowed to provide the water buses, according to Palembang Mayor Harnojoyo.
The water buses will operate in Musi River and pass through the Kuto Besak Fortress and traditional and cultural kampongs, such as Kapitan and Al Munawar.
Meanwhile, the Committee for Acceleration of Priority Infrastructure Delivery (KPPIP) has lauded a plan to optimize the LRT beyond the Asian Games to be held in August 2018.
"The government plans to offer subsidies worth Rp180 billion to keep the LRT operational," Project Director of Transportation at KPPIP Dwianto Eko Winaryo stated recently.
The KPPIP has coordinated on the implementation of the project with various stakeholders, such as contractors, consultants, and facility providers. (*)