THE INDONESIAN government expected to sign last month a memorandum of understanding for modernisation and operation of the Jakarta suburban network.

Transport Minister Hatta Radjsasa announced on July 20 that South Korean engineering consultancy Sam-An Corp had been selected to revitalise the capital’s railways, which will be separated from national operator PT KAI (RG 8.05 p463).

Sam-An has been working on studies to improve the Jakarta suburban network since 2003, and President Lim Jong-Ah hopes to negotiate a 15-year finance-operate-transfer concession by the end of this year. This will pave the way for investment of US$270m by the end of 2008. Sam-An will act as project manager, bringing in support from local firms and international investors.

A new fare-collection system is intended to reduce the current high level of ticketless travel, estimated at around 50% of the 450000 daily riders. Hatta also expects the concessionaire to order 300 additional EMU cars to reduce overcrowding and to start a programme of station modernisation.