JAKARTA • The Indonesian government plans to operate airport trains in three more cities following the inauguration of the airport train in Jakarta, the country's transport minister said.
Jakarta launched the first train connecting its international airport to the city centre on Tuesday as the sprawling Indonesian capital moves to tackle the gridlock that can make the trip an hours-long headache.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said airport trains will also be built in Padang in West Sumatra, Palembang in South Sumatra, and Surakarta in Central Java, The Jakarta Post reported.
The trains in Padang and Palembang are scheduled to open in May, while the Surakarta service is expected to begin operating in November, the minister said.
The Jakarta system links Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on the outskirts of Jakarta to downtown in 55 minutes, cutting the journey time by half or more.
President Joko Widodo inaugurated the new system that officials hope will convince travellers to make the switch from private to public transportation on the 38km route.
Jakarta is also building its first subway and light-rail systems, with service expected to start next year.
"We know that this train is a way to provide transportation in Jakarta to reduce traffic jams," Mr Joko said on Tuesday.
The direct link cost 3.6 trillion rupiah (S$355 million) with a total of 42 trips scheduled daily. The service runs from dawn to shortly before midnight.
About 11,000 passengers are expected to use the service daily with three trains plying the route.
Tickets will cost 70,000 rupiah for the first two months of service, rising to the regular rate of 100,000 rupiah afterwards - about half the cost of a taxi.
This week's inauguration comes about eight months before the capital hosts the 2018 Asian Games, which is expected to see about 9,500 athletes flock to the congestion-prone city.
JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE