bullet train Indonesian President Joko Widodo
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, right, checks out the country's new high-speed train on Sept. 13. Image Credit: Presidential Secretariat

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo took a ride on Wednesday on the newly-established high-speed train in Indonesia.

This ride took place just before the official opening of the Jakarta-Bandung route, scheduled for early October.

During the journey, the train reached a remarkable speed of 350 kilometers per hour, earning high praise from the president.

Reflecting on the experience, President Widodo expressed his satisfaction, stating, “This was my first time riding the train today. It was comfortable even when it reaches a maximum speed of 350 kph.”

He further noted that the ride was smooth both while seated and when moving within the train.

These high-speed trains, currently covering a distance of 142.3 kilometers, can transport passengers from Halim Station in Jakarta to Padalarang Station in West Java within a mere 32 minutes and from Tegalluar Station in Bandung, West Java, to Jakarta in just 44 minutes, down from 3 hours using conventional train.

Prestige project

This high-speed rail project holds significant prestige for the Indonesian government, although it has faced challenges such as delays and budget overruns. Nonetheless, the launch is conveniently timed for President Widodo to showcase the achievements of this endeavor as he nears the conclusion of his second and final term in office. Indonesia is set to hold elections in February.

During a test run of Indonesia's new bullet train on September 13, 2023, President Widodo said the train a maximum speed of 350 kph.
During a test run of Indonesia's new bullet train on September 13, 2023, President Widodo said the train "was comfortable even when it reaches a maximum speed of 350 kph." Image Credit: Presidential Secretariat

Spanning a distance of 140 kilometers, the railway connects the capital city of Jakarta with Bandung, the provincial capital of West Java, a popular tourist destination. The entire journey can be completed in just 28 minutes. The government aims to gradually increase the frequency of train services from the soft launch in October to January.

Test run

Joining President Widodo on the test run were key figures including Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, as well as Erick Thohir, the minister of state-owned enterprises, along with several influencers and celebrities.

As Jakarta grapples with severe air pollution, having recently earned the unenviable distinction of being the world's most polluted capital city, President Widodo expressed hope that the high-speed train would stimulate greater interest in transitioning from private car usage to public transportation. He emphasized the importance of this shift in order to alleviate congestion and reduce air pollution in Jakarta, Bandung, and their surrounding areas.


The Jakarta government, meanwhile, has unveiled plans to extend the route of the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway (KCJB) trains all the way to Surabaya in East Java, passing through the southern regions of Java.

Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi told Antara news agency on Thursday that they are currently leaning towards extending the route through the southern regions.

He added that his ministry will initiate further studies to determine the specific regions that the KCJB trains will traverse on their journey to Surabaya. Previously, the Director General of Railways at the ministry, Mohamad Risal Wasal, had mentioned their intention to extend the high-speed railway's route to Surabaya via Yogyakarta, a southern city in Java.

President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday that the government's expansion plan aims to stimulate the development of new economic hubs in the areas traversed by the trains. KCJB is included in the government's list of national strategic projects.