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Full buses in Jakarta YOGYAKARTA - Outside the use of the many thousands of - in general - old buses that are still in use today, there is a new option which was introduced just a few years ago. In 2004 these were brand new buses which were used on - then - just two routes. One route ran from north to south and back and the other one from west to east and back. The official name TransJakarta can be found on the buses, but for the rest the company is known as 'Busway'. And that is exactly what it is, because TransJakarta is too common. In the four year that this company exists hundreds of bus stops were constructed from durable materials and four more routes were organized as well. They seem to run all across the city without any logic though.

The last thing is not true at all, which becomes visible when you take a look at a schematic map of all the routes - like they exist from the London Underground. You will see that a great sense of logic is used here. There are almost none overlapping routes, but there are many exchange points where several routes meet. Above all transferring at one of these small hubs is free of charge, so all travelers can reach their single-trip destination for just 3500 Rupiah.

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A look inside one of the TransJakarta buses. At the moment that the picture was taken it was not too crowded, so you can also see the bus in front. indahnesia.com

And it's working, as people could see pretty see early on. In the first few months after starting up, there was a growing shortage of buses. Not caused by late delivery of an earlier order, but simply because of the fact that the system works that good that tens of thousands want to use it every day. Finally a project that may just work out. Badly needed in a city like Jakarta where there are almost as much hours of traffic jams as there are hours in a day. Regularly buses are so full that others have to wait for a newly serviced bus that arrives completely empty at the firs stop, which will be filled completely in a matter of seconds.

Over the years more people started to use the several different routes. It became so crowded that by now one of the routes has been fitted with extra long buses. Before they could be used, all stops had to be fitted with three sets of doors, but it was a badly needed step in order to get more passengers on the buses in a shorter amount of time and even saving on fuel costs. The company told that the regular buses could transport up to 80 people, while the extra long buses are capable of transporting some 185. Of course not all passengers are able to sit down.

During the hours that the office people travel from and to their offices or when they head outside for a lunch, it is even more crowded than usual in the buses. It is not uncommon that people are waiting outside the stops because it's already too crowded inside. Unfortunately this is a generally chaotic situation, because forming normal queues is something unheard of in Indonesia. The transfer stops know an even more dramatic situation from time to time.

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One of the busy stops on the route Kota - Blok M is Halte Glodok, in the heart of Jakarta's Chinatown. It is waiting for your turn to catch a bus here, even during the quiet hours. indahnesia.com

There were thousands of people a day come together at one transfer stop, during busy hours but more often throughout the entire day, platforms are often flooded with hundreds of people. A good example is 'Halte Harmoni' in northern Jakarta. There you will often find unorganized groups of people waiting for a single door while outside buses with three different colors - blue, grey and red for the three different lines that stop here - stop at different doors.

Getting onto and off buses is often survival of the fittest with people pushing and pulling, especially when people want to board the bus even before the people that want to get out got a chance to do so. Obviously that doesn't work like that, but they all want to go as soon as possible. Especially at that kind of moments it's important to just wait for your turn. But it's often the people at the back that start to push even before the doors are open. Waiting another five minutes is suddenly out of the question.



Posted in Travel @ 09 July 2008 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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