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Southeast Asia pins hopes on rail to ease chronic congestion

Urban transit networks set for long-awaited launch as traffic costs mount

MRT Jakarta expects to carry up to 378,000 passengers daily once the second phase of its network starts operating in 2025. The indonesian government estimates the economic cost of the city's traffic jams to amount to 65 trillion rupiah a year. (Photo by Bobby Nugroho)

JAKARTA -- Indonesia's first high-capacity commuter rail network is set to open in late March, when the first phase of MRT Jakarta begins operating.

Initially, the line will only stretch 15.6 km from South Jakarta to the city center, but its opening marks the culmination of 30 years of on-and-off efforts to deal with the city's chronic traffic problems.

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