Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo proposed autonomous rapid transit (ART) urban transportation as a new alternative for mass transportation services to reduce congestion in Indonesia.

The president, popularly known as Jokowi, said this while addressing all Indonesian mayors at a national meeting of the Association of Indonesian Municipal Governments (Apeksi) in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on Tuesday.

"There is a new transportation mode called ART that has no rails but uses magnets instead. It can consist of one to three carriages," he said in his speech broadcast online by the Presidential Secretariat.

Jokowi highlighted the significantly lower infrastructure development costs of ART compared to other mass transportation options in Indonesia, such as mass rapid transit (MRT), light rail transit (LRT), and high-speed trains.

He emphasized the high cost of MRT construction in Jakarta, which initially reached around Rp1.1 trillion (around US$65 million) per kilometer but has now risen to Rp2.3 trillion.

"Which city is ready to build an MRT with a budget of Rp2.3 trillion per kilometer?" he asked.

Jokowi said that the LRT construction was financed by the central government with a budget of Rp600 billion per km, and the train carriages were made domestically by PT Industri Kereta Api (INKA).

"The high-speed train is cheaper than the subway, with a construction cost of around Rp780 billion per km," he remarked.

In this regard, Jokowi presented ART as a more affordable option for public transportation, with expenses primarily borne by regional governments. The central government will contribute through subsidies.

"Cities with the ability to build ART can submit proposals directly to the transportation minister. The construction cost can be 50 percent covered by the state budget," he said.

In his speech, Jokowi also emphasized the importance of planning for mass transportation to reduce traffic congestion in cities.

"Many cities in our country are starting to experience congestion," he remarked.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Anton Santoso
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