January 3, 2024
JAKARTA – Building a new high-speed rail (HSR) station in Bandung city, West Java, would dampen Whoosh’s operational speed, experts say, warning that this could result in a much longer travel time.
Indonesia Transportation Society (MTI) chairman Tory Damantoro said the mainstay of Whoosh was its speed, hence there would be a trade-off of potentially losing public interest in the service if the speed was reduced.
“Because more stations will be added, the overall travel time will increase due to the additional stops,” Tory told reporters on Wednesday.
Currently, Kereta Cepat Indonesia Cina (KCIC), a Sino-Indonesian consortium responsible for operating Whoosh, has not opened a stop in Bandung city despite the project being called the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail.
Passengers from Jakarta instead stop at Padalarang station in Bandung regency, where it takes between 30 and 40 minutes by car to reach Bandung city center’s landmark Gedung Sate or an hour by public transportation using a feeder train from Padalarang to Bandung station.
Meanwhile a new station has been proposed in Kopo subdistrict, which would cut the travel time to Gedung Sate slightly to a 25-minutes drive, while remaining an hour’s journey using public transportation to the same destination.
Tory said the association urged the Transportation Ministry to prioritize the development of the Bandung commuter line instead, drawing inspiration from the successful implementation of a similar policy for the Greater Jakarta commuter line.
“In our opinion, developing commuter trains makes more sense than adding a new Whoosh station with relatively close proximity to the existing one,” Tory said.
The MTI also stressed that other regions were also in need of a similar policy and development, such as Semarang, Surabaya and Medan, hoping this could help increase the frequency and service of urban rail transit outside of Jakarta.
Previously, Presidential Chief of Staff, Moeldoko proposed that it would be better for the Whoosh operator to build a new station in Kopo subdistrict, although leaving the decision up to the KCIC and state-owned railway operator KAI, which is also a major shareholder in the consortium.
“This decision can be made, of course the authority is with the KCIC. Because this is the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail, it should really stop in Bandung,” Moeldoko said on Nov. 30 as quoted from Kompas.
David Tjahjana, secretary to MTI’s road and rail transportation forum, said at the same event on Wednesday that Padalarang was previously chosen as the station’s location due to its proximity to Bandung.
The operator and the government then decided to introduce a feeder train to help passengers resume their journey to Bandung, hoping this could compensate for its location being far from the city center.
Prior to building the Padalarang station, the KCIC previously sought to build one in Walini, West Bandung regency, yet the plan was canceled due to its location being deemed too far from Bandung city.
Walini was also chosen as one of candidates of to move the West Java capital city, which is currently located in Bandung city.
KAI said it was waiting for studies by the Transportation Ministry and State-Owned Enterprises Ministry. KAI president director Didiek Hartantyo says neither ministry had yet to issue a response regarding the Kopo station for Whoosh.
However, he said on Thursday that it was important to consider the distance between stations to optimize the train’s speed.
“If feasible, [it is better to] keep the distance between HSR stations not too close to each other. It’s different with the commuter line service that can stop every 2 kilometers, as their speed is only 80 km per hour,” he told reporters, as quoted from Bisnis.