Jakarta Underground

AmCham Indonesia goes deep to visit the Jakarta MRT project, experiencing the tunnel and visiting a mid-city station

By Gilang Ardana and A Lin Neumann
Friday, March 10, 2017

Hey, this thing is real. After more than two decades of discussion and speculation and amid the current traffic delays and construction buzz behind towering fences, Jakarta’s new Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project is rapidly becoming a reality.

Some 30 meters below Jalan Sudirman, at the soon-to-be Senopati Station, AmCham Indonesia recently toured the site, marveling at massive tunnel boring machines and trying to envision how the station will look during a packed rush hour about two years from now. Just a few meters from the crowded street and straight down a set of temporary stairs, a new world exists and about 20 people from the AmCham board and general membership were suitably impressed with the sneak peak.

The MRT Jakarta team was very keen to show off what some 48,000 workers are accomplishing as they work around the clock on the 26 kilometer system that will run from Bunderan HI to Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta. The group was escorted by an MRT corporate communications representative. We also met Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas, Head Commissioner of PT MRT Jakarta, who was on site during our visit.

In one interesting tidbit, the company noted that about ten percent of the work force are Japanese employees of the MRT’s prime contractors, but that they are busily transferring technology to their Indonesian colleagues. In the first three months of the project, which began in 2014 when President Joko Widodo was still Jakarta governor, Japanese workers ran the boring machines, which grind away about 12 meters of earth a day.  The machines are now 100 percent Indonesian operated, the company says.

The tunnel at Senopati is nearly complete, air conditioning ducts are being bolted into place, concrete flooring has been poured and the track beds are almost ready for the trains, which are set to be running by in March 2018 for testing. This first leg of the Japanese-designed and financed project will have 13 stations and plans are already underway for more lines. When finished, the MRT will make the run from Fatmawati to Bunderan HI in around 30 minutes.  

Inside the humid and hot station complex, a company representative pointed proudly to chalk marks on a wall bearing the word, “Entrance.” The door is going to be built soon, he said. The plan is for key stations to be linked to the Transjakarta busway, the train being built to the airport and the existing interurban rail system.

Now where do we buy our tickets?

Usage of the AmCham Indonesia website states your compliance of our Terms of Use