Wed, 22 Mar 2000

Railway company wants DPR to set new ticket price

BANDUNG (JP): President of state railway company PT KAI Edie Haryoto has called on the House of Representatives to decide on new prices of train tickets before April 1, in case the firm suffers losses due to the fuel price hike.

Edie told reporters after inaugurating a new train station at Kiaracondong here that the proposal was being processed at the House.

PT KAI proposed to the government the increase in ticket prices based on, among other things, the distance to be covered by trains and the average number of passengers, Edie said.

According to the government proposal, a reasonable increase would be 22 percent on average.

The ticket price for the executive class Turangga train from Bandung to Surabaya will be maintained at the three-month-old price of Rp 125,000.

"The calculation will not be imposed on economy class trains. The government will set the price for the economy class train, which is always subsidized by the government," he said.

PT KAI spokesman Gatot Wibowo said the proposal was based on the fact that PT KAI has not increased ticket prices for three years and higher opeartional costs due to the increase of fuel prices effective on April 1.

"The rough calculation of the increase in ticket prices is the operational costs divided by the average number of passengers. The output is the increase in the cost (rupiah) per kilometer per passenger," Gatot explained.

He said the ticket price of the Mutiara Selatan (business class) train from Bandung to Surabaya, which costs Rp 44,000, deserved an increase. "As the (Mutiara Selatan) ticket price has not increased for three years, we hope that the increase will be 50 percent."

Based on this calculation, the increase would be Rp 47 per kilometer per passenger. "As the government will start to pay Public Service Obligation (PSO) to PT KAI, totaling Rp 236 billion this year, we can press for an increase in the ticket price to Rp 37 per kilometer per passenger."

Gatot admitted that the increase would not cover the financial losses suffered by the company. "An increase of more than 100 percent would make us profitable."

According to Gatot, the House had earlier approved the increase. "The approval was made in August 1999. The decision was then transferred to the Ministry of Transportation by decree No. 32/1999. But due to our economic trouble the then minister did not sign the decree." (25/sur)