BEIJING, Nov. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from China Report ASEAN:
“The Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway (HSR) is a crucial achievement in practical cooperation between China and Indonesia,” said Paulus Rudolf Yuniarto, a researcher at the Indonesia National Research and Innovation Agency.
As an academic living in Jakarta, Yuniarto can’t wait to experience the efficiency of the high-speed train. Before commencement of commercial operation of the HSR, he sat down for an interview with China Report ASEAN.
China Report ASEAN: As an academic living in Jakarta, how do you feel about the Jakarta-Bandung HSR and its potential impact on transportation in cities along the rail?
Paulus Rudolf Yuniarto: I am excited about the opening of the Jakarta-Bandung HSR. I understand what a big deal it is, and I had been anticipating the completion of the project for a long time. I am eager to experience the efficiency of the high-speed train myself. The Jakarta-Bandung route is expected to be fast and save time while providing unprecedented comfort. This advanced technological marvel is poised to foster favorable outcomes for urban transportation along its tracks. It has the potential to alleviate traffic congestion, enhance efficiency, and offer an eco-friendly mode of travel.
Regrettably, based on my observations concerning train schedules and arrivals, there seems to be a lack of seamless coordination with other transportation modes like public transit. Online services appear to provide connectivity at the moment. High-speed train sounds ground, but after its completion, work on the stations could impact the flow of transportation in Bandung. In the short-term, it might increase traffic congestion by making fresh bottlenecks in specific zones or worsening existing traffic issues. This risk is compounded by additional demands arising in the station vicinity such as public transportation, dining establishments, accommodations, and facilities that might be required by migrants. Ideally, these factors should have been meticulously addressed in the planning process.
China Report ASEAN: The Jakarta-Bandung HSR is expected to downscale the traffic flow of small cars. Will this contribute to the green and low-carbon development of West Java?
Yuniarto: The Jakarta-Bandung HSR operates on electricity, resulting in zero direct carbon emissions. This mode of transportation offers high speed, substantial passenger capacity, and superior energy efficiency compared to road and air travel. It is the optimal and ecologically sound choice for travel and will contribute to the green and low-carbon development of West Java. This is because the railway will be able to carry more passengers and goods than cars. And utilizing electricity contributes to environmental sustainability. Electric trains produce zero or negligible pollution compared to their diesel-powered counterparts.
By utilizing electricity, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train is actively contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions. There is a lot of optimism that using electricity for the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train will effectively lower carbon emissions along its route, especially from Jakarta to Bandung and West Java in general.
China Report ASEAN: How has the project benefitted local economic development from construction to operation?
Yuniarto: During construction of the Jakarta-Bandung HSR, increased demand for labor and materials resulted in economic benefits for areas along the rail.
Operation will bring further economic benefits because it will make it easier for businesses to operate in the region and for tourists to visit. The business center is located in Karawang City, which hosts a variety of amenities. In Walini City, through which the route passes, we are planning to establish a truly green concept, ensuring a healthy and pleasant environment. Walini will also host a health center, a university, and research facilities, all conveniently accessible. We would like to see Tegalluar City evolve into a hub of industry and innovation.
The Jakarta-Bandung HSR project presents a highly appealing investment potential across various sectors. Primarily, it generates opportunities in the property and construction domains around train stations. As mobility and demand surge, property values are expected to rise, enticing investors to develop properties in the vicinity. This expansion will also extend to the industrial, trade, and service sectors linked to the high-speed trains, encouraging ventures like factories, eateries, shopping centers, and local transportation services.
Additionally, foreign investors can play a vital role by supporting and financing the project, contributing valuable technology and expertise to enhance economic growth and infrastructure development in Indonesia. Moreover, the project stimulates investment in technology and innovation that bolster high-speed train operations, fostering advancements in efficiency and reliability while creating job opportunities in the burgeoning technology sector. Traders can capitalize on these prospects by engaging in technology and innovation investments that complement train operations like transportation technology, construction, and associated industries.
China Report ASEAN: From the cost-benefit perspective, do you think the Jakarta-Bandung HSR project will be worth it?
Yuniarto: Oh definitely. However, calculating the profitability of the Jakarta-Bandung HSR project requires a comprehensive evaluation of the costs and benefits. While successful implementation, substantial ridership, and positive economic effects could make it profitable by enhancing connectivity and encouraging regional development, challenges such as construction costs, ridership uncertainties, economic fluctuations, and competition from other modes of transport must also be considered.
A rigorous cost-benefit analysis encompassing both short- and long-term impacts as well as the adaptive strategies to address changing conditions will be essential in determining the project’s ultimate profitability. Expert input from transportation economists and infrastructure specialists is vital for a more precise assessment.
China Report ASEAN: The Jakarta-Bandung HSR is a crucial achievement in practical cooperation between China and Indonesia. How significant do you think it is for China–Indonesia relations?
Yuniarto: The HSR is a symbol of the strong relationship between the two countries, and it will only strengthen their ties in the years to come. Cooperation between Indonesia and China on this project has demonstrated strong mutual interest in collaboration in economic and infrastructure sectors. In the realm of international relations, cooperative ties among nations signify a convergence of diverse international interests that cannot be independently fulfilled. Such collaboration arises from individual commitments aimed at achieving common welfare and shared objectives.
President Jokowi’s diplomatic approach towards China, particularly concerning the construction of the Jakarta-Bandung HSR, is founded on two primary strategies. First, his administration has focused on domestic enhancements, overhauling the investment framework to attract foreign investors, and promoting infrastructure development within Indonesia. Concurrently, President Jokowi’s government is adopting a comprehensive approach towards China, capitalizing on the nation’s promising economic outlook to forge a mutually beneficial partnership. This approach has culminated in numerous development and investment ventures undertaken in collaboration with China.
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