Indonesian President Joko Widodo inaugurated a $7.3 billion high-speed railway on Monday. The railway connects the country’s capital with the city of Bandung and is a China-backed project. However, the project has faced numerous problems, including land procurement issues, pandemic-related delays, and rising costs.
The railway, which spans 142 kilometers (88.23 miles), is one of President Widodo’s key infrastructure projects and is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The project has fallen far behind its original target of starting operations in 2019.
During the launch, President Widodo explained that the bullet train is named “Whoosh” to evoke the sound of a rushing high-speed train. He emphasized that the train’s maximum operating speed could reach 350 kilometers per hour (217 mph), representing a modernization of mass transportation that is environmentally friendly.
Luhut Pandjaitan, a senior minister overseeing the project, announced at the launch that the free trial rides on the bullet train, which began in September, will be extended. Additionally, ticket prices will be implemented in mid-October.
The railway was constructed by a consortium of Indonesian and Chinese companies.
Reporting by Yuddy Cahya Budiman; Writing by Ananda Teresia; Editing by Gayatri Suroyo and Gerry Doyle.
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