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February 18, 2023, 06.41 PM


JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – A new cross-border bus service between Indonesia and Timor Leste is scheduled to launch in March, providing smooth connectivity to cities in both countries.

In a recent interview with go.kompas.com, Indonesia’s Ambassador to Timor Leste Okto Dorinus Manik said that the government will provide state-owned public transportation operator PT Damri buses to serve routes between the Indonesian city of Kupang and Dili in Timor Leste.

Besides, a private Indonesian company will also deploy its fleets called Bagong.

“We will launch a seven-day-a-week bus service that will link Kupang to Dili,” Ambassador Okto said on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in Jakarta. 

Also readIndonesia, Timor Leste to Improve Economy in Border Areas

“We are planning to launch the bus service next month as we have completed its standard operating procedure,” he said, adding that a total of five buses from DAMRI and Bagong are ready in Kupang.

They are currently waiting for the buses provided by Timor Leste to arrive. The average travel distance between the two cities is about 400 kilometers, which will take about six to seven hours to drive.

The new bus service is expected to make it easier to travel between two countries by public transport. In addition, the Indonesian government officially added Timor Leste as a country eligible for visitor visa exemption on Thursday, Feb. 12, according to the director general of Immigration circular letter. The Timor Leste passport holders can now enter Indonesia without a visa for a 30-day stay.

The issuance of the circular letter was coincident with the recent official visit of Timor Leste’s Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak to Indonesia from Feb. 11-14.

“We’re grateful that the visa-free policy [for Timor Leste citizens] is effective on Feb. 13, 2023, during the visit by Mr. Prime Minister,” said Okto, who began his ambassadorial post in Dili on Dec. 13, 2021.

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