Jakarta's new MRT offers a ride out of the jams

MRT Jakarta president director William Sabandar says it is his job to ensure that the project will be delivered by next month.
Indonesia's first MRT system is expected to ease Jakarta's road congestion, which sees traffic in the capital grinding to a halt for hours each day. The MRT is a signature infrastructure project under President Joko Widodo, who is seeking re-election in April. He revived plans for the MRT when he was elected the capital's governor in 2012. PHOTO: IKHWAN GEMBUL
Indonesia's first MRT system is expected to ease Jakarta's road congestion, which sees traffic in the capital grinding to a halt for hours each day. The MRT is a signature infrastructure project under President Joko Widodo, who is seeking re-election
MRT Jakarta president director William Sabandar says it is his job to ensure that the project will be delivered by next month.

When Mr William Sabandar, president director of MRT Jakarta, opened the company's head office on the rim off the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in 2016, one of his first acts was to set up a countdown clock in the lobby.

For Mr Sabandar, who oversaw disaster recovery on Nias island after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, it was a move right out of his crisis management playbook: to create a sense of urgency among his staff and set them a deadline.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2019, with the headline 'Jakarta's new MRT offers a ride out of the jams'. Print Edition | Subscribe