Solo's Bus on Rails
Solo. Renowned for its innovative public transportation system, the Central Java city of Solo unveiled its latest service on Tuesday: a tram called the Railbus. The Railbus, which can transport 160 passengers, will run between Solo and Wonogiri, also in Central Java, along a 39-kilometer route that takes about two hours to traverse. “Solo does not want to be left behind by other big cites, such as Jakarta, in preparing its mass transportation system,” Eko Budiyanto, a spokesman for state railway operator Kereta Api Indonesia, said on Tuesday. The city has already undertaken a pioneering campaign with Yogyakarta, under which it has rolled out a system allowing passengers to use transportation in and between both cities using a single ticket. Solo has also since December operated a bus system similar to the TransJakarta service in the capital. The bus system, called the Batik Solo Trans, serves about 3,000 passengers each day. Hermanto Dwiatmoko, an official at the Transportation Ministry, said that although Tuesday marked a trial run for the Railbus, the system was practically ready for launch. “This is a unique and modern form of transportation and it has just been waiting for the formal ceremony,” he said. The Transportation Ministry is scheduled to inaugurate the Railbus on July 26, Hermanto said. The new Railbus replaces an old feeder train that is no longer in use and was able to carry only 90 passengers on each trip. It used an old rail track that was built back in the time of Dutch colonial rule. The new tram will also be fully air-conditioned. “We plan to build new stops at several locations in downtown Solo,” Hermanto said, adding however that no decision had yet been made on the price of fares or the tram schedule. “We first have to meet with the Solo municipal administration, transportation officials and KAI,” he said. He added that the Rp 17 billion ($2 million) Railbus was expected to help alleviate the city’s traffic problems, especially during Idul Fitri, when millions of city dwellers head to their hometowns to celebrate the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. Source: The Jakarta Globe
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