Date : 08 Aug 2018
Palembang, Indonesia, August 7, 2018: A few minutes before the train is due to arrive at Bandara Station outside Palembang International Airport, station staff call the crowd of passengers to listen up. When the workers have the full attention of the excited passengers, they hold up a paper ticket and show the travellers how to swipe it on the sensor panel in order to pass through the gate and on to the platform.
Welcome to the first Light Rail Transit in Indonesia!
Thanks to the 18th Asian Games, the capital city of South Sumatra province now has a sparkling new LRT, covering 24.5km and with 13 stations.
These stations include Bumi Sriwijaya, high above a stadium that will host women’s football matches at the Asian Games, Ampera at one end of Ampera Bridge crossing the mighty Musi River, and Jakabaring outside the Jakabaring Sport City.
With a new LRT comes a new lifestyle for the passengers, and new customs to learn such as forming an orderly queue, buying tickets with smart cards as well as cash and choosing public transport over private cars. Government officials hope that all these LRT lifestyle aspects will become a new habit in Palembang and other cities throughout Indonesia where LRT projects are planned.
For now, the Asian Games is bringing an exciting new visitor to Palembang in the form of the LRT.
When the train travelling in the opposite direction passes closely by, the passengers shriek like they are on a roller-coaster; children on balconies wave as the train goes by their house; and office workers stare out of the window at this gleaming new addition to Palembang’s daily life.
On this particular day, the LRT is still in a testing phase ahead of the Asian Games, meaning the timetable is quite sparse and most of the 13 stations by-passed.
But as the Asian Games draw closer to the August 18 opening ceremony, the frequency of the trains will increase, especially as organisers will rely on the LRT to take athletes and officials from the airport to Jakabaring Sport City rather than on fleets of buses which would only add to the heavy traffic.
The Asian Games has not even started – but already proud Palembang is enjoying the legacy of Indonesia’s first LRT.
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