27 December 2007

Jakarta’s Public Transportation

Back in Kuala Lumpur, I rely solely on the LRT to commute to work. Even though my office in KL is only about 5 km away from home, I prefer taking the LRT. Return ticket would only cost me RM2.

No frantic search for parking space. No parking tickets to pay and no fuel cost.

Every morning I would walk to the LRT station, which is about 500m from my house. The journey on the LRT to the office would take less than 5 minutes. After three stations, I would disembark and walk for about 600m to my office building.

Senangkan? Bukannya aku takde kereta but I find it a whole lot easier using the LRT.

Most of the times, when I have errands to run in the city centre, I would opt for the LRT (unless kalo urusan tu kat KLCC aku drive coz senang pakai Ampang elevated highway).

Sometimes, when the place which I was heading to has no LRT line, I would take the public bus. Hey, I still use the public bus in KL ok. The last was during my Raya holidays in October. Masa tu aku nak gi Jln Raja Chulan from Puduraya.

Takde mende nak di malukan. I grew up taking public buses. Sekali sekala tu buat le mende yang selalu kita buat masa kita susah dulu. It would help keep our feet firm on the ground and remind us to be grateful for what Allah has given (loaned) us.

I have friends who live very near to the LRT station and whose office is just a stone’s throw away from the LRT station but still insist on driving to work. Aku tak paham betul le dema ni. Pemalas betul. Ni le masalah ngan orang-orang Malaysia ni.

If something requires them to walk just a short distance, they would rather not do it. Notice how at parking bays people would desperately search for parking lots nearest to the mall entrance even though there are plenty vacant spaces available some distance away? Why? Because memang dasar pemalas tak nak jalan jauh sikit. Ada setengah tu sanggup double park semata-mata tak nak jalan sepelaung je.

If this is the attitude of most KLites, constructing miles after miles of new LRT lines would not help in lessening traffic congestion in Kuala Lumpur.

We should be grateful KL ada LRT, monorail dan komuter nih (though I believe the operators could do a lot more in maintaining high standard of services). Kalo kat Jakarta, abisle kome.

LRT? Mimpile. Monorail? Dah bertahun dah start construction tapi yang sempat siap tiangnye aje. A testament of Indonesian efficiency.

In the absence of modern and efficient public mode of transportation, the people of Jakarta rely on a host of public transportation services.

Firstly there’s the TransJakarta or popularly known as Busway. The poor man’s version of LRT.

It’s a bus service which operates using a designated lane along the main roads. Other vehicles are prohibited from using this lane. Along the routes, there are bus stops or halte at strategic points.

The buses used are also specially designed in which the doors are placed higher than the normal bus. Hence, these buses could only make their stops at the halte where there are raised platforms where commuters would embark and disembark.

Inile rope Busway tu...

Recently, the routes have been expanded to many parts of Jakarta and soon it will reach Pondok Indah, much to the chagrin of the rich residents of Pondok Indah. Construction of the Busway lane had just started in front of my office. Traffic has become worse ever since. The once three lanes of road have now been reduced to only two for each direction.

Then, there’s the MetroMini. Ni le raja segala raja atas jalan kat Jakarta. Remember KL’s own mini buses which not long ago ruled the streets in KL? Haah… sama le tu ngan MetroMini…. Tapi darab ngan sepuluh.

Kalo bus mini KL at the near end of it’s life dulu ada le jugak improve dengan better looking buses siap ngan aircond, tapi MetroMini kat Jakarta ni seemed to be stuck in a time machine.

Bas ni tak evolve... sama je sejak dulu. Drebar bas plak mcm jahanam...

Once, as I was flipping through TV channels, I saw an Indonesian movie (from the gigantic hair-do of the actress, I reckon the movie was made in the 8o’s) and in one of the scenes it showed the MetroMini. Memang sama dengan sekarang! Tak berubah langsung!

If Bangkok has it’s tuk-tuks, Jakarta has Bajaj.

Bajaj is a modified three-wheeled motorbike with 2nd row seats which could fit two (average sized adults) comfortably. What’s not so comfortable about riding on a Bajaj is the black smoke emitting from its’ exhaust pipe.

I’ve tried using the Bajaj once but decided against it because when I was negotiating the price for a short ride to my apartment from Pasaraya Grande, I was taken aback by the asking charge. Baik aku naik teksi. Sama je harga. Air-cond lagi.

Makcik tudung merah tengah usha drebar Bajaj... chenta ka?

However, Bajajs are not allowed on the main boulevards. Cuma jalan2 kecil aje.

Lastly, there’s the Ojek.

Anyone with a motorbike can be an Ojek. Ojek is very convenient if you would like to get from point A to point B in the shortest time. The Ojek would take you on a terror ride weaving through Jakarta’s traffic. Make sure you have insurance coverage before taking one of these.

It is quite risky taking Ojek. Especially at night. Ye la… mana tau di kidnapnya bawak tempat2 takde orang then di rompak, tak ke naya. Jangan terlalu percaya sangat ngan Ojek ni. But of course bukan semua le yang jahat. It’s better to exercise some caution than be sorry.

As for myself, I rely solely on taxis. Bukannya mengada taknak naik Bajaj or Ojek, but as I mentioned earlier, sometimes they would ask for exorbitant charges more so when they know you’re a foreigner. Kekadang stress betul nak bertekak nak dapat harga rendah.

Mind you, taxi drivers do give problems too. In my two years in Jakarta, seldom I encountered a taxi driver who would return my change. The classic excuse used “nggak ada uang kecil”.

Once I hailed a cab from Kemang to return to my apartment which was about 1km away. Upon reaching the apartment lobby, I glanced at the meter and it showed Rp8,000. And I gave the taxi driver the exact amount.

Taxi driver : “Kurang ini pak. Mana ada taksi ongkosnya Rp8,000”.

Me : “Itu argonya Rp8,000, saya bayar Rp8,000” (argo = meter)

Taxi driver : “Bapak pikir ini Bajaj? Minim Rp15,000 dong!” (in a raised voice)

Me : “Di mana ada tulis ongkos minim Rp15,000? Mana? Mana?” (in a slightly raised voice)

Taxi driver : “Emang Rp15,000. Lain kali bapak naik bajaj aja nggak usah naik taksi!”.

Me : “Ambil ini uang Rp15,000!. Saya tidak halalkan sampai kamu mati!!

I did not hand over the money to him. I threw it onto the backseat and slammed the rear passenger door. That’s for raising his voice with me.

To those planning to visit Jakarta, it is highly recommended to take Bluebird taxis. The taxis are clean (Vios paling baru ok). Most of the drivers are courteous and they use the meter all the time. The unpleasant experience above was not from a Bluebird taxi.

Sapa yang rindu dengan bas mini KL tu boleh le try MetroMini. Ehh… lupa… MetroMini kat sini ada onboard entertainment. Kalo time berenti kat traffic light tu, ada Ariel and Kris Dayanti wannabes siap ngan gitar nyanyi2 dalam bas.

Preview of my next entry:

Cuci kain ker?


peanutbutter said...

gampang...siap ada sneak preview

.::DyDy BaNoD::. + Chiuuupp!!! said...

teringat zaman p jakarta dolu2..
G market naik beca pastu selipar tercepit and dah tak nak naik dah...
balik nak naik bajai pastuh plak pala sakit terhantuk2!!..
apalah malangnyer idop aku...!!!

yazrie said...

heheheh....selalu berjalan kaki je kalau nak ke mana2 tempat yang dekat (walaupun jauh ada gak gigih nak jalan kaki jugak)...

Tak paham dengan perangai org yg jarak dekat pun nk kena naik kete...

Selalu naik bas ke tmpt keje..kalau ada meeting or nk kena run errands etc je bwk kete..

naik public transport best gak..leh tido sat or baca novel..hehehe..

Anonymous said...

The problem of Jakarta's monorail isn't about gov't inefficiency, but about politics. As Mahathir Mohamad also acknowledged that monorail is a mere of metropolitan symbol, it's not designed to solve transport problems. It's very expensive, yet it can only transport few people per car. Msian gov't spend a lot of money yearly as a subsidy of KL monorail. Indonesian gov't realizes it, they tried to cancel a project which had been approved. On the contrary, busway is very cheap, it's a highly recommended mode of transport for developing countries. That's why many countries like Thailand, India, Turkey, even France and US adopt this system for some of their cities, where they learn much from Jakarta's experiences. I understand the time you wrote it was in 2007, and now 2011 there are 10 corridors of Jakarta busway. They're still far from perfect, but will be better in the future along with Jakarta's MRT.