Mon, 23 Sep 2002

YLKI, passengers complain of poor service

Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) and train commuters blasted state-owned railway firm PT KAI on Saturday for its failure to provide good service and facilities for its customers.

Tulus Abadi of YLKI's legal division said the worst service was its poor punctuality.

"A recent YLKI survey in July this year shows that the frequency of train delays was rampant with 89 percent of arrivals and 57 percent of departures running late by an average of 20 minutes each," said Tulus during a dialog held by PT KAI with its customers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Similarly, Ibnu, a resident of Sudimara, Tangerang complained that besides tardiness, PT KAI also failed to provide a sufficient fleet of trains to transport the large number of passengers safely and comfortably.

"The limited fleet for serving commuters results in an overload as many passengers insist on boarding the train as there is no alternative transportation for them," said Ibnu, who works at a construction firm in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta. He travels by train either to go to his office or to return home in Tangerang, Banten.

PT KAI has a total of 395 trains comprising electric trains (KRL) and diesel-fueled trains (KRD) to serve the over 400,000 commuters across Greater Jakarta. Ninety-seven trains are for executive class, while the rest of the 298 trains are for economy class.

Of the 400,000 commuters, some 70 percent of the passengers go economy class causing an overload in those cars and leaving most of the executive class cars vacant as only 30 percent of the passengers use it.

Comfort and safety are a luxury for passengers in the executive class.

Wati, a resident of Serpong, Tangerang, complained of poor facilities for the passengers in executive class.

"Executive class passengers deserve better service as we pay a higher fare of Rp 8,000 compared to those in economy, who pay only Rp 2,500," Wati said.

She said passengers paid Rp 1,000 for using the public restroom.

"Facilities like public toilets should be free of charge as they are included in the higher fare," said Wati.

Meanwhile, the division head of Greater Jakarta PT KAI, Rachmadi said his company failed to have trains arrive and depart on time or provide good service to its customers.

"We hope we can improve all our shortcomings by providing a more frequent schedule," Rachmadi said, adding that his company planned to increase the frequency of trains plying the Bogor- Jakarta route starting in January next year.

He brushed aside allegations that his company did not supply enough trains to serve all the commuters.

"The problem lies in the amount of commuters who use the train during rush hour," Rachmadi said, adding that his company offered discounted fares for the executive class outside rush hour to ease the amount of passengers in economy.

Rachmadi said his company had implemented a new ticketing system in June in accordance with a zoning system to boost its revenue and as part of its effort to improve services.

"The tickets are in different colors to indicate the different destinations and will enable conductors to ensure that customers pay the right fare according to the existing rate," said Rachmadi.

He said the new system would increase the company's revenue by 20 percent to Rp 11.5 billion a month from about Rp 9 billion previously.

"Besides the new ticketing system, we will promote leasing out the kiosks at our stations to generate additional revenue so that the pressure on fare prices can be eased," Rachmadi said.

He said his company sorely needed more money to finance operational costs and repair the damage incurred by vandals or residents along the railway lines.