On Thursday (03/09) a consulting team hired by the government to study Indonesia’s first ever high-speed rail project, provided results of their study to President Widodo.

Investors from Japan and China were in a fierce battle to win the contract for the high-speed train. However, in their proposals both parties also suggested to use part of Indonesia’s state budget to cover the project’s costs. This immediately led to criticism on Widodo as the Indonesian government seemed overly focused on infrastructure development on Java, while there remain several less developed areas that require a railway (for example in Sulawesi, Papua or Kalimantan). The Jakarta-Bandung route currently already has a railway but it can take up to three hours to travel along the 150 km-long route.

Read Column: Indonesia’s First High-Speed Railway Project: Battle between China and Japan

Instead, Indonesia now requests investors to send new proposals for the construction of a medium-speed rail link between Jakarta and Bandung. A medium-speed link between the cities would also be commercially more viable as travel costs can be cut by up to 30 percent.