Top News Indonesia’s new speed rail boosts tourist numbers to Bandung By Tiara Maharani / Posted on 17 November, 2023 18:04 Whoosh, Indonesia’s first high-speed train that runs from Jakarta to Bandung, has resulted in heightened tourist interest in Bandung and the surrounding areas, say Indonesian travel trade players. Nuning Widya, director of Mentari Tour, said Whoosh itself is now an attraction among domestic and South-east Asian tourists. Tourists are keen to experience a ride on the new Whoosh Her agency will receive a couple of groups with about 100 pax from South-east Asia for a three- to five-day Jakarta-Bandung tour this month. These travellers will utilise Whoosh. Marintur Indonesia has also started accepting bookings that include Whoosh rides. Its managing director, Hasiyanna Ashadi, said tourists are eager to arrive earlier and experience the new speed rail. Furthermore, Whoosh allows a wider variety of tours to be created on the Jakarta-Bandung route. However, both leaders expressed concerns about the feeder services that joins the end of Whoosh, bringing passengers from Tegalluar, the last Whoosh stop, into Bandung city. At this point, there are limited feeder services and the schedule is said to be unreliable – travel into Bandung city could run the risk of delays. To resolve this issue during the ongoing train service trial period, Nuning said her agency would pick guests up from Tegalluar station and rely on the toll road to transport them to Bandung city. “Travel by toll road is still faster than when clients land in Kertajati International Airport or use buses from Jakarta to Bandung which can take three to five hours,” she said. A Whoosh ticket is priced from 300, 000 rupiah (US$19), which includes a feeder train service to and from Bandung. A 50 per cent discount is applied for the month of November. Nuning said that without the fare promotion and with the unreliable feeder train service, her guests would have to pay more to get to Bandung, as an extra fee is applied for the Tegalluar station pick-up by car. She pointed out that current travel options between Jakarta and Bandung have their own pros and cons. While the cost of a Whoosh plus Tegalluar station pick-up arrangement is more expensive than a Jakarta-Bandung shuttle bus service, which costs US$10 to US$20, travellers would still save on travel time. Whoosh cuts the journey from Jakarta to Bandung from three hours by car to just 45 minutes. A domestic flight from Jakarta to Bandung is the most expensive option. In time to come, Hasiyanna believes that Whoosh will attract European and American tourists who enjoy overland trips. Hasiyanna added: “Whoosh gives more tour options. Overland programmes usually go directly to Yogyakarta or Semarang, but Whoosh gives travellers a chance to stop by Bandung and enjoy the surrounding areas.” Jongki Adiyasa, executive director of Ina Leisure Tour and Travel, hopes that the speed rail will soon extend across Java and include routes to Surabaya. “It would be a game changer for Indonesia, and an important force in leading the development of Indonesia’s tourism sector,” he remarked. Whoosh commenced commercial operations at the start of October, offering 600 seats across three classes. Its maximum speed is 350kph. Starting from Halim railway station in East Jakarta, Whoosh passes through Karawang and Padalarang stations before stopping at Tegalluar on the outskirts of Bandung City. Indonesian president Joko Widodo hailed it as “a symbol of Indonesia modernisation in public transport that is environmentally friendly”.