MRT Jakarta links arms with start-ups for greener commuting

PT MRT Jakarta president director William Sabandar (right) accompanies Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan (second left, front) on a visit to the Asean MRT Station in Jakarta on Jan. 22, 2020. - JP

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN): City-owned PT MRT Jakarta, which operates Indonesia’s first mass transit service, has joined hands with three local green start-ups to launch a number of innovative services and encourage passengers to adopt more eco-friendly commuting habits, as well as pursue a more environmentally responsible lifestyle.

MRT Jakarta has collaborated with to add the tech company’s carbon calculator to its MRT-J mobile application.

The feature allows users to keep track of their carbon footprint for each MRT trip and generates an estimate on the number of trees they need to plant to offset their carbon emissions.

MRT passengers can also choose to make a donation to tree-planting crowdfunding campaigns run by’s partners to offset their emissions.

Another green initiative is MRT Jakarta’s cooperation with Rekosistem on a plastic recycling campaign.

The waste management company has placed smart garbage bins, or “dropboxes”, for empty PET bottles at MRT stations to encourage passengers to dispose of their waste responsibly.

Passengers can earn up to Rp 100 (0.69 US cents) in eMoney credit through the Rekosistem app for each plastic bottle they put in the smart bins. Rekosistem has also set up a public “waste station” outside Blok M Station in South Jakarta for collecting inorganic waste.

Users of the facility can earn from Rp 800 to Rp 1,200 in eMoney credit for every kilogram of waste they deposit at the waste station.

And with Jakarta Bike Hub, MRT Jakarta has installed a bicycle-sharing system at its stations to accommodate the growing number of cyclists in the capital. For just Rp 3,000 (21 US cents), MRT passengers can rent a bicycle and a helmet for 30 minutes through the Jakarta Bike Hub app.

The service promotes cycling as an option for first- and last-mile transportation along the MRT line, which currently spans 15.7km between Lebak Bulus Station in South Jakarta and Bundaran HI Station in Central Jakarta.

The initiatives aim to leverage awareness on environmental and social justice issues among Jakarta’s more progressive urban population, many of whom have adopted pro-sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

MRT Jakarta president director William Sabandar said the green initiatives were intended to support the Jakarta administration’s goal of creating a more sustainable and green city.

"Our responsibility as a city-owned company is not only to seek profits, but also to provide benefits to the city and the public.

During the MRT's two years of operation, we have always sought collaboration with partners that focus on environmental sustainability," William said during a webinar March 11 to commemorate MRT's second anniversary.

Under governor Anies Baswedan, Jakarta has launched wide-ranging development projects for cleaner, more sustainable public transportation in a bid to ease the city's poor air quality and severe congestion.

In 2018, the city introduced the Jak Lingko transit programme, which offered a single flat fare for the use of various transportation modes in an effort to encourage more private vehicle users to switch to public transportation.

The following year, the administration installed Jakarta's first bicycle lane network that spans 63km. It is planning to construct an additional 101.2km of bike lanes this year as part of an ambitious plan to lay down 578.8km of bike lanes by 2030.

Last October, PT Transportasi Jakarta, which operates the TransJakarta integrated bus network, finished a three-month trial run for two electric buses on the Blok M-City Hall route. It plans to launch the electric bus service this year.

And late last year, Anies issued regulations that require annual emissions tests for all motorised vehicles more than three years old.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) global nonprofit has recognised the Jakarta administration's efforts with the 2021 Sustainable Transport Award (STA).

The Indonesian capital is the first city in Southeast Asia to receive the prestigious award.

Andri, a 29-year-old commuter who lives in South Jakarta, said MRT Jakarta had taken the right step in involving its customers to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly transportation system.

"Although I haven't tried the [new] services, I am keen to be more environmentally responsible during my trips. It's great news, but I hope [the company] could be more aggressive in informing passengers about the initiatives, so they can be widely known and used," he said on Tuesday.

Another commuter, 25-year-old Dyaning Pangestika, said that while the initiatives were good, some improvements were needed to make the campaigns more effective.

"I think for the initiatives to work, MRT Jakarta has to make them as user-friendly as possible.

"For example, instead of downloading multiple applications to access the services, passengers should be able to use them on one app like the MRT app," she said. - The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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