MRT Jakarta experienced a slight decrease of passenger numbers in May, following slower activities in the fasting month of Ramadan and the post-election unrest last Wednesday, during which some access to Jl. MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta, where the riot started, was limited.
Starting on May 13, MRT Jakarta also started to operate without the 50 percent discount, initially made to encourage more people to try out and eventually switching to the new service.
The fare is kilometer-based starting at Rp 3,000 between the closest two stations, increasing to Rp 14,000 to travel from Lebak Bulus Station to Bundaran HI Station.
MRT Jakarta president director William Sabandar said that when the fares were discounted, MRT Jakarta carried an average of 82,643 passengers daily, but after the full fare was implemented the daily average went down to 81,338.
The number, however, is lower on weekends with from 40,000 to 50,000 passengers, including on May 22 and 23, when the Bundaran HI MRT Station was closed as the post-election protests flared up in the area, especially on Jl. MH Thamrin near the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) building.
“However, in the last two days, [Monday and Tuesday], it went up again. Yesterday there were 89,864 passengers,” William told reporters on Wednesday.
“We actually have about 80,000 loyal riders,” he added.
He said that on weekends, MRT Jakarta riders were mostly regular residents who just want to try the service out, hence the lower number of passengers.
“There is a tendency now that visitors start to decrease, perhaps because of the fasting month,” William said.
He claimed that the full fare did not decrease the number of its loyal passengers and he expected that in June after the Idul Fitri Holiday the number of passengers would bounce back.
William said the company would also expect a large number of users during the Idul Fitri holiday.
MRT Jakarta corporate secretary Muhammad Kamaluddin said the company would prepare single trip group cards.
“We will ease [group users] by programming the tickets and with special lockets to buy trips from one end [Lebak Bulus] to another (Bundaran HI), or [regular tickets] can also be purchased en masse,” Kamal said.
The ticketing system uses cashless payments using single-trip and multi-trip MRT Jakarta cards or electronic cash cards issued by state-owned lenders Mandiri (emoney), BRI (brizzi), and BNI (tap cash), as well as those issued by private lender BCA (flazz) and city-owned lender DKI (Jakarta One).
He said that MRT Jakarta would also provide guides who are MRT employees or volunteers to guide the visitors inside the stations.
The service is called Jelajahi Jakarta Edisi Lebaran, with groups tickets available for purchase on June 4 to 9.
Previously, some passengers complained about cell services, especially in MRT Jakarta underground stations.
Kamal said that Telkomsel, Smartfren and Tri cell signals would be available for MRT passengers, including inside underground stations.
He also said that MRT Jakarta was still taking bids for the naming rights of four stations at Bendungan Hilir, Senayan, Cipete Raya and Blok A.
William said that construction of MRT Jakarta was currently continuing with phase two and the company had decided its second depot was to be located in the West Ancol area of North Jakarta.
Previously, the second depot was planned for the Kampung Bandan area of North Jakarta on a plot of land owned by PT Kereta Api Indonesia, but it turned out it had been rented to another party.
The plan was scrapped in January. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said that the uncertain legal status of the plot hindered the city administration from purchasing it.
Another possible location for the depot was at BMW Park in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, but that ideas was also abandoned as the city planned to build the BMW Stadium at the site, which has an uncertain legal status.