Lights out for Indonesia's LRT just days before Asian Games

By AFP   August 12, 2018 | 11:53 pm PT
Lights out for Indonesia's LRT just days before Asian Games
A worker cleans near a sign for the upcoming 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Photo by Reuters/Darren Whiteside
Indonesia is investigating malfunctions that have plagued the first light rapid transit (LRT) for the Asian Games, official said.

The LRT in the city Palembang -- which is co-hosting the Games with Jakarta -- needs to be operating smoothly as thousands of athletes, officials and visitors arrive this week for the start of the world's biggest multi-sport event behind the Olympics.

Indonesia has set aside worries about terrorism, street crime, venue completion and Jakarta's notorious traffic, saying it is ready to roll for the August 18-September 2 Games.

But officials on Monday were forced to acknowledge a series of "shortcomings" with the LRT, seen as key to avoiding traffic snarls in Palembang on Sumatra island.

A short circuit knocked out power to a portion of the transit system Sunday, halting trains and forcing passengers to disembark between two stations.

Just days earlier passengers had to endure long delays due to signals interference, which caused the temporary suspension of services, local media reported. 

"The government will immediately evaluate the whole operation of the South Sumatra LRT," said Zulfikri, director general of railways at the transportation ministry.

"(We) hope this evaluation will provide a solution that will improve the overall operation of the LRT," added the official, who like many Indonesians has only one name.

Jakarta and Palembang will host about 11,000 athletes and 5,000 officials from 45 Asian countries for the Games.

Indonesia had less time to prepare than most host countries after it only agreed four years ago to host the games when Vietnam pulled out.

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