Monday, April 26, 2010

Passengers bid farewell to legendary Parahyangan train

Long-time users of the Parahyangan train, which has for almost 40 years ploughed the Jakarta to Bandung route, spared time Monday to watch the train embark on its last journey before its discontinuation.
One passenger came with his family from as far as Batam to enjoy the spectacle, while others drove all the way from Tangerang, Banten; all with the same intention of becoming “part of the history” as the last passengers on the train, the operation of which was terminated due to financial losses.
“I was so shocked to learn that the Parahyangan would not operate anymore,” Sita Hutabarat, one of the passengers, told The Jakarta Post, adding that recently she had begun taking her car to Bandung, West Java, via the Cipularang turn pike.
Sita drove all the way from her house in Tangerang, Banten, to Gambir station in Central Jakarta to take the Parahyangan with her friend, Mira Idris, who lives in Rangkasbitung.
They came at 8:30 a.m., very close to the departure time of the train, which in the end departed 15
minutes late.
“Had we been late, we would have taken the next train. We are so determined to take this train because today will be its last day,” she said.
Holiday maker Romi Arno from Batam, Riau province, said he had brought his family to ride the Parahyangan because he wanted his children, who had never ridden on a train before, to become part of history.
State railway company PT KAI decided to cancel the train’s operation because it was suffering financial losses due to a sharp decline in passenger numbers.
The train, which began operating in 1971, carried 76 executive class passengers and 204 business class passengers every day on average.
The company reduced the train’s fares to woo more passengers but to no avail.
A one-way business class ticket cost Rp 30,000 (US$3.3), and an executive class ticket Rp 50,000.

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