JAKARTA - With currently at least a dozen routes throughout many parts of Jakarta it is possible to travel around the city for just 3,500 Rupiah per person. It doesn't even matter how many transfers you make. The oldest routes have their own lanes through dense traffic conditions in many parts of the city, but elsewhere the big buses have to compete with a few million other road users.
That road sharing is far from a posititive thing because Indonesians, when they hit the roads, become apathic monsters without any attention for other road users. All of them want to be stuck in traffic in front of the car before them, because only then it seems they have made some progress. Often, traffic is so dense that a motorcycle has problems passing by, let alone a large bus.
And still the TransJakarta system is up and running for six years now. Those buses that are of the same age should have been replaced bu now, but no funds are available to do so. No funds because 3,500 Rupiah brings you everywhere in the city and that is not enough money to make a decent profit. That is why the company received funding from the city, which is quite important for the survival of the company.
Paper tickets, in case all other options prove not to be an option at all. © indahnesia.com
The nice plans for the Busway
, as the company is best known here; to create a modern transport system, have failed for the largest part. Buses are mostly completely worn down and regularly break down or grind to a halt because one less careful motorist is stuck between it's front wheels.
The automatic ticketing system that should work together with opening gates automatically has become as big joke as passengers have to purchase a piece of worn-down plastic at a price of 3,500 Rupiah – cheaper in the early morning – which they have to hand over to another employee a few meters ahead. The gate system doesn't work and that is the case at all stops.
It is also possible to pay with JakCard. JakCard is a prepaid card on which a value in Rupiahs has been uploaded first. The problem here is that the systems are not inter-connected and that the automatic gates do not function. Making an electronic payment becomes an elaborate process because when you pay with JakCard, you will still get such a plastic ticket.
It seems to be the Indonesian version of automatisation. Of course it is not possible to keep this system like it is now. There is one positive site; there is only one rule for those wanting to transit. As long as a passenger does not leave the area, transfer is possible at no extra cost. If you know Jakarta a little bit, you can travel pretty far for just a small fee indeed.
Transport for the working class
Because the Busway
system is mainly targeted at transporting many people in a cheap fashion, you should not count on any form of comfort during your trip. The limited number of seats are occupied by those that obtain them first. Elderly and handicapped have to wait in line. Only young woman are given seats, travelers will do anything to chear up their trip home as it seems.
Although it is not allowed to eat and drink on board of the buses, they are still littered with paper and spilled liquids like iced tea and water. Following instructions not to drink and eat on the bueses is still a huge problem since people do not really care about what happens after they have been on the bus. No attention goes to the fact that other passengers might like to have a clean bus as well.
During peak hours, the limited amount of buses for always too much passengers cause overcrowded situations. Bus stops themselves are cramped with waiting passengers that will start pushing from behind when they can see a bus coming around the corner. This regularly leads to incidents as people disappearing between the bus and the bus stop. That causes a panic, but a bus later those same people are pushing again.
When you are in the bus, you are regularly told to keep an eye on your belongings. Mobile phones, wallets and other stuff that is in your pockets is an easy target for pickpockets. And not, those are not the little boys wearing flip-flops. The average pickpocket on the Busway
looks more like a businessman, including his document case where stolen items can be stored for the time being.