Sunday, November 8, 2009
KRDE Rencang Geulis and Baraya Geulis
With a population density of more than 13,000 people per square kilometer (2,364,000 plus population in area of about 167 km square), Bandung shamefully does not have a good and working mass rapid transportation system. There are commuter trains, buses, taxis, ojeg (motorcycle taxi), and the notorious angkot - all of which are loosely regulated and without an apparent systematic link to one another. As a result of this, traffic congestion is an everyday experience for Bandungese and visitors as people prefer to use their own private vehicles (motorbikes and cars) to get around. This situation is made worse by hodge podge spatial arrangement and commercialization. Malls and shopping places spring up rapidly without much consideration of the potential for traffic congestions they create.
Several attempts have been made to upgrade the city's mass transportation system. All of them failed because of the lack of funding and the pressure of interest groups - such as those of Angkot owners and operators - who are gaining advantage from the current situation.
In this situation, the launching of KRDE (Electric Diesel Train) Rencang Geulis commuter train in April this year is a good news. This clean and comfortable train that serves Cibatu - Bandung - Padalarang route is part of PT KAI (Indonesian Railway Company) efforts to help reduce traffic congestions in the greater Bandung area and provide better services for its commuter customers. Earlier, PT KAI had also launched KRDE Baraya Geulis that serves the route Cicalengka - Bandung - Padalarang, and Bumi Geulis that serves Bogor - Sukabumi.
As good as they, Baraya Geulis and Rencang Geulis are not a long term solution for the city's dire transportation system. For one, the commuter trains only serves points along the East - West axis of Bandung metropolitan area. They also have limited scedules and capacities. Baraya Geulis, for example, only runs twice a day during the peak hours and with a capacity of only 650 passangers.
By the way, Rencang Geulis are Sundanese words that mean "beautiful friend".
The top photo is the interior view of KRDE Rencang Geulis commuter train.