Jokowi Inaugurates Jakarta MRT, Marking 'New Era for Indonesia'
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo inaugurated on Sunday the first phase of the Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit – vital infrastructure expected to reduce some of the world's worst traffic congestion.
"Today marks a new era we will have with the first phase of the MRT being operational," Jokowi said in his keynote address.
Tens of thousands of excited Jakarta residents flocked to the area, eager to take a ride on the subway for the first time. Many also mobbed the president for "wefies," to post on social media.
In his down-to-earth speaking style and in a heavy Javanese accent, Jokowi jokingly asked those in the crowd who had already tried out the MRT to raise their hands. "For those who haven't, you must try again tomorrow; it is still free," he added amid laughter from the people in the crowd, who responded by raising their index fingers – a symbol of support for Jokowi, referring to his number on the ballot.
The president also reminded passengers to adopt a proper habit of queuing and to assist the operator to maintain the cleanliness of the facility.
"Be patient and make sure you follow the queue. Don't jostle with each other. Be disciplined, by making sure you know the schedule. Don't let yourself get stuck in the door when the doors close," he said in a joking tone.
He added that this figure could go up to Rp 100 trillion. "Do we want to continue like that? It is better if that money is spent on building the MRT and light rail transit system," he said.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the MRT tariffs will be announced on Monday, and that it would operate on a progressive system, meaning fares will be based on the distance of the journey. He said this would likely be about Rp 10,000 per station, on average.