Monday, 26 July 2010

Jakarta Buses

Living in Jakarta I see buses everywhere, all day all the time. There are several buses that stick in my mind - Transjakarta, Steady Safe, Kopaja, Metro Mini and the very scary green and white one that goes through the city at full speed and without any indicators. Then there is the Grogol express from Tangerang. The feeder bus from BSD and then the long distance buses going everywhere in the country, daily. 30 hours to Bali on a bus or 1hr 40 on a plane, 10x the cost but hmmm which would I want?
Then the Angkots and blue minin vans which run around everywhere else. Then the cancer producing Bajai, and finally the unfriendly Ojek which for me are not really a nice option. 
Last week my girlfriend was surrounded by 3 men on a bus as she tried to get off, they managed to take from her zipped up bag, her phone, money and some atm cards. She then got off and it was too late to do anything about it. The Driver and the conductor could not care and more than likely accept bribes from people like these who prey on the unsuspecting and busy. Sadly reporting the incident to the bus company, the police or anyone else is complete waste of time as frankly they dont care or have the manpower to solve this. 
On the organised and pre routed Transjakarta there is now more cases of women being groped and the police really quite unwilling to sort the problem out or the people that do that. Transjakarta, help but again are powerless. 
The Angkots that zip about at speed over charge over fill and are very dangerous to be in and have little or no safety features. 
As a motorcyclist I have to ensure I read the signs of these things and what they will do. Some buses will just pull out at speed and go straight across 3 lanes without a care, some just stop without any warning, often most have defective lights and pump out black smoke. 
I guess I am at a loss to how these situations could and would be 
sorted out and by whom. The constant announcements that police are checking drivers and stopping them does nothing to the bus drivers etc, who disregard safety for money and ignore the dangers for the sake of an extra fare.                                                               

I wont be travelling on a bus in the city thats for sure and would only get on one if it was a Transjakarta or had limited seats. The sardine cans on wheels are certainly not something I will ever plan to use. But, for those that do, just be so so wary of those around you. Zip your bags and hold them tight. 
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