Indonesians get free test-rides on country's first high-speed railway

Indonesia's first high-speed railway is offering free test-rides to local people as construction nears completion.

The railway's construction is a key project of China's Belt and Road Initiative. China won the bid for the project in 2015 after a fierce competition with Japan.

The railway connects the capital, Jakarta, with Bandung, capital of West Java province about 140 kilometers away. The maximum speed is about 350 kilometers per hour, and travel between the two cities takes about 45 minutes. By conventional train it normally takes more than two and a half hours.

The railway is due to start operating next month after a four-year delay. The free test-rides began on Monday.

Passengers took photos and enjoyed the view from the speeding train. Display monitors in the cars advertised China's involvement in the railway's construction.

One passenger said he is proud Indonesia now has a high-speed railway. He said advances in China's technology led to cooperation in building the railway.

A university student studying in Bandung said low-income people may not be able to try the train yet because of the expensive fares.

China initially proposed a plan that would not put a financial burden on Indonesia. But some Indonesians have expressed concerns as construction costs ballooned, resulting in a financial burden.