There’s pride on the streets of Jakarta. On March 24, the Indonesian capital saw the launch of the first phase of its Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, inaugurated by President Joko Widodo. The line runs south of the Sudirman-Thamrin thoroughfare, a business district that is considered the heart of Jakarta.
It’s a breakthrough in the city’s infrastructure. Jakarta is notorious for its traffic—in 2015, Jakarta was labelled as the city with the world’s worst traffic after Castrol conducted a global survey, and the Central Bureau of Statistics says that there are approximately 18 million private vehicles in Jakarta every day, with a 5% increase each year. In all, traffic congestion leads to economic losses reaching IDR 100 trillion (USD 7 billion) in Jakarta every year.
But all of that will hopefully change as more phases of the MRT go online. In an interview with KrASIA, Muhammad Kamaluddin, corporate secretary division head of the Jakarta MRT, said that the main goal of the system is to reduce congestion on Jakarta’s roads. “Our target is for 130,000 passengers to use the MRT every day,” he said, encouraging a shift from using private cars to adopting public transportation. If enough people switch over, that might even turn Jakarta into a true metropolis.
With those plans in mind, how will ride-hailing platforms that operate in the city be impacted?
Grab and Go-Jek are cooperating with Jakarta’s MRT so that this new system of public transportation can integrate with the ways people already commute in the city. Kamaluddin said that this will “ensure their arrangements of drop-off and pick-up points are following our [the MRT’s] master plan.”
Grab has already built a shelter near the MRT’s main station, Lebak Bulus, and said it has plans to build more near other stations. Grab Indonesia president Ridzki Kramadibrata said that his company has coordinated with MRT Jakarta to map out those constructions. It has also announced the integration of public transit information into the Grab app in the recently released “Trip Planner” feature, which will also display the schedules of the commuter rail network, airport rail link, TransJakarta public bus services, and more than 50 other bus routes that operate in Greater Jakarta.
On top of that, Grab’s mobile payment partner in Indonesia, Ovo, signed a memorandum of understanding with the MRT last year, laying the groundwork for passengers to pay for their metro tickets with the app. Go-Jek has done the same so that Go-Pay can be part of the payment system too.
Kramadibrata said he is not worried that the MRT will affect Grab’s business. Instead, he sees opportunities for Grab in this new development. “Our ultimate goal is to learn and iterate with this initial public transit offering and see how we can best solve consumer pain points in the daily commute, whether it is to take public transit (bus or train) for most of the distance and ride a GrabCar or GrabBike for some part of the way,” Kramadibrata said.