Indonesia’s state-run railway company Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) scrapped the use of free single-ride tickets on Thursday amid widespread losses associated with its new electronic ticketing system.
Passengers will have to pay a Rp 5,000 deposit for a single-ride ticket, which can then be refunded at their point of departure or used as a deposit for an additional single-use ticket. The company hopes to teach commuters to either return the plastic cards or purchase a Rp 50,000 multi-ride pass after losing more than 800,000 tickets — at a cost of Rp 4 billion ($400,000) — in the first two months of operation.
The company prepared an additional two million single-use tickets to replace the lost cards and meet increased demand. KAI stopped running economy-class routes in the Jakarta metro area, shifting all passengers to more expensive lines that use the electronic system.
More than 130 “unofficial” exits have also been closed at train stations across the city as KAI attempted to reduce losses.
“The police were sent to educate passengers to be more responsible,” said Eva Chairunnisa, spokeswoman for KAI subsidiary Kereta Commuter line Jakarta (KCJ). “We also recommend that passengers use the multi-trip tickets for the long term.”
The electronic system was supposed to modernize the Jakarta metro area’s aging train system, but passenger response has been mixed. Commuters at the Bogor Besar Station waited in long lines on Thursday as police explained the new system to individual passengers.
“I can imagine that once I arrive at Karet Station [in Central Jakarta] I am going to have to queue one more time just to get a refund,” Syeril, a regular commuter, said. “It’s such a waste of time.”