ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Indonesia: The Transportation Ministry has yet to issue an operating license for the four South Korean-made trains that have been plying the Medan-Kuala Namu International Airport route for the past month.
Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono said on Monday that the operating license had yet to be issued due to administrative setbacks. He said the license would be issued if a problem related to technical data was resolved.
“It would take a week at the most,” Bambang told The Jakarta Post at the Medan railway station.
He said the operation license was actually not an essential matter because the airport train was for general public use and did not sacrifice passenger safety.
On that basis, added Bambang, the ministry’s railway directorate general and state railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) had met to discuss the matter, especially concerning basic safety.
“The train service has commenced in principle, and we are just waiting for the formal license,” said Bambang, emphasizing his visit to Medan was not to question the operation license but to inspect preparations to speed up the double-track project for the airport train service.
He added that the double-track project, which would be partly elevated, would start next year with a budget of Rp 3.8 trillion (US$317.35 million).
He said the double and elevated tracks to the airport should be built immediately to curb traffic congestion and to minimize any risk of accidents due to the large number of crossings.
“The project is expected to be complete in three years but we hope it’ll be finished in two years,” said Bambang, adding the double-track railway from Medan to Kuala Namu in Deli Serdang regency was
KAI North Sumatra region deputy vice president Saridal said the project would commence in 2014 from Aras Kabu to Bandar Khalifah (15 km). In 2015, the elevated tracks will be built from Medan to Bandar Khalifah (9 km), followed by double tracks from Aras Kabu to Kuala Namu (5 km).
Saridal said 2,564 families were still living along the planned double and elevated tracks. He, however, acknowledged that his office would be able to overcome the issue soon.
“There’s no problem because they occupy state property. We will employ persuasive methods to encourage them to leave the land,” said Saridal.
MN Fadhila, managing director of PT Railink, operator of the airport train, warmly welcomed the government’s plan to build the double and elevated tracks. He said the double and elevated tracks were very much needed due to high public interest to use train services to the airport.
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