Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Absurd Jakarta: Public Transportation Part 1 - Kopaja and Metromini

Apa kabar from Jakartaaaaa :D

This is Metromini
It's still a month to wait before Christmas  and despite that, people around me have already prepared for that precious event.

Today, I'm gonna talk about my interesting daily experiences on public transportation in Jakarta. Generally, there are 7 kinds of them:
  1. Kopaja and Metromini
  2. Tranjakarta (also often called busway)
  3. Mikrolet
  4. Bajaj
  5. Ojek
  6. Truk
  7. Taxi
This is Kopaja
Some of them will be divided in series, Now I'm gonna talk about the first buses in the list - Kopaja and Metromini.
They are actually buses, and they are often mistaken of each other because of their similar looks and routes. But obviously you can see in the picture that Kopaja are always green and Metromini are orange. These 2 are the most brutal public transportation  in the Jakarta megapolitan. Despite that, I they are my favorite transportation because of their cheapest fees. There are 7 notable elements that are always with them:

  1. Driver and kenek (conductor)
    • These 2 are the most beastly duo in public transportation. They are usually spouse, father and child, or brother and sister, or whatever. 
    • The driver is usually very harsh and impatient to reach a particular destination that he often violates the traffic lights and rules. He is the common cause of chaos in roads. Sometimes he even puts a fight with another driver  in order to seize other's passengers. So brutal right? 
    • The conductor, although in lower level, is also a brute. He is the one that asks for payment to passengers. He usually shakes the coins in his hands to remind us. By the way, the price is different for particular passengers. Commoners usually pay Rp2000 a ride. Children and students who wear uniforms will be costed Rp1000. Remember, only when they WEAR uniforms. (which means that if you go with a friend, she wears uniform and you don't, although the conductor knows you're a student you'll still be charged Rp2000). Sometimes if you're unlucky, you'll still be charged Rp2000 although you don your uniform. It all depends on his mood.
  2. Pengamen 

    • They are street musicians, or (to make it literal) 'bus musicians'. They are musicians (mostly males) who sing and and play instruments to find money. They usually sing the latest popular song, mostly love songs by Indonesian bands or political songs that critic the government harshly. Rarely some who are intelligent sing English songs, but I never see anyone sings Chinese songs (hahahahah). 
    • Most of them play guitars or kencrung (a kind of small guitar similar to ukulele). Some are talented to play both guitar and harmonica simultaneously. Kids usually just clap their hands rhythmically to their songs or tap their kecrekan (a small wooden block which bottle tops are nailed onto it). 
    • Pengamen is my favorite element because they kill my boredom while sitting on the bus. Most of pengamen usually enter the bus and say a few greetings which are often intimidating and kinda cursing before actually sing for about 5 minutes. After that, they will pull out their candy packs and ask for money. Some of them use knives, gillette or even say that they just come out of jail to emphasize the pressure. I know these sound unpleasant, but those can be understood since they are hopeless for money and government doesn't seriously contribute so much to their peaceful life. As long as you give the right respond to them, you will be safe. A student donning uniform like me won't have to be bothered because they understand our financial condition. Moral value: wear uniform everywhere! xD Check this out Pengamen's angelic voice Pengamen Metro Mini
  3. Passengers

    • The passengers are the most complicated creatures on the bus. They usually consist of 2 kinds: perverts and non-perverts. If you are a beautiful woman, be careful for those pervert guys who will grope your bottoms and chest. I'm not trying to imply that all guys on the bus are perverts. Some of them are normal and you can talk to them to kill your boredom. Perhaps you can find your love of life?
  4. Asongan
    • They are the ones who sell drinks, snacks, cigarettes anything that can get them money on the bus. They are the ones who will never take a seat on the bus. Even if someone offers them a seat, they will softly reject it.
  5. Blink blink quotes

    • This is the most creative element out of all. The quotes are usually placed in front or behind. They can be varied according to the driver's preference. They are the truest expression of the driver's status. They can be encouragement, advice, idiom, agony, or even names of people they love. I don't know who first initiated the idea of decorating them blink blink. But those quotes can kill my boredom when spending a lot of time on road. They even sometimes inspire me. 
  6. Accessories
    • I don't know who came out with the idea of decorating the whole bus disastrously, but this surely becomes where they 'compete' to bring their creativity out. Their creativity are sometimes over the top that they put unnecessary things that make the bus looks like a moving bedroom. I once rode a bus whose driver attached at least 7 filthy dolls to the glasses and put various plastic vases on the dashboard which were contrast with the fringed curtains at the back glass.


  1. My girlfriend and I had so much fun reading your description. She is Indonesian living with me in America. She says everything you say is right on the money.

  2. LOL! Metro Mini S72 Jurusan Blok M - Lebak Bulus Tulisan '' Kewer Kewer ''
    Terus Ada Dokar Balap S72 Lagi
    Ada Lagi Sumpah Pemuda S72
    Metro Mini S77 Jurusan Blok M - Ragunan Tulisan '' Defika '' 77 Ada '' Bangkai Trans TV
    Sorry, I did not mentioned About Speak English, Maaf