Monday, October 04, 2004

In Love and War: KRL*


Finally I made it to get in. Oops, it's not over yet. Behind me, people were still pushing in to find their way in. 'Hm, I'd better turn to the right,' I said to myself. And better quick, because I hated the way this person behind me pushing me; He - I guessed the person must have been a guy - was like poking my bootie. As I found a nice spot to stand, I looked to my right to see who the person was, and yes, I got my guess perfectly right. A short guy in yellow shirt took a place nearby me and looked straight outside the window innocently.

For the rest of the journey, I kept my guard on and watched the guy through the corner of my eye restlessly. Nevertheless the hot air and my anxiety to get to Depok as fast as possible made me able to distract my thought away from the guy. There was an electric fan over my head, but alas, it was broken. The air wouldn't have been that hot if there weren't many people blocking the air circulation from and to the windows and the open doors.

Well, I'd better stand it. This was so far the fastest means of transportation during Friday's afternoon traffic in Jakarta. To rely on other means of transportation was not a wise thing to do as traffic was getting worse in this Indonesia's capital city. If I took a bus, the fastest time I got to Depok from Salemba would have been two hours. The difference would not be much if I went on my car - a time saving of +/- 30 minutes - plus it did not justify the weariness and the stress I had to bear upon driving through the streets of Jakarta.

So, to hell with the hot air and the crowd and the flirtious & harrassing guys and the ever-ready pickpockets. My aim was to get to the destination I was heading to as fast as I could and KRL suited my need the best. I guess this must have been the same reason so many people in the Great Jakarta area choose to get on this means of transportation despite all the inconvenience. Okay, we had busway, but was there a busway transportation running to and fro the outskirt of Jakarta?

Next reason: low ticket price. With 1,500 Indonesian rupiahs** (around US$ 1.5 cent), you could go as far from Depok to Jakarta Kota, or the other way around. Some people in fact do not bother to go to the ticket booth and buy the ticket. If one has to travel that far, it sure is a real bargain. With ticket price so low, it is logical that travelling security and convenience are luxuries we can only dream of.

But do we have to take the poor treatment from the KAI (PT. Kereta Api Indonesia, the KRL operator) for granted all of our lives? KRL is a mass transportation and we are human beings, not animals nor lifeless things. Shouldn't the government make it one of their top priorities, providing a more humane means of transportation for the people?

Okay, in one point, the government has succeeded in providing a cheap means of transportation. But the homework does not stop to that. I wish the government officials would be willing to take time to ride on the KRL and they would understand what I'm trying to say here. But nah, I reckon they will be too proud to jostle in the KRL with other passangers. Or if they would, they'll ride on the locomotive or on the business class. Yeah, they might as well take a chopper...

Judging all that, it is urgent to make a great deal of changes regarding KRL. Yet I believe there will be some people who go against the changes. To mention a few, there's those people selling beverages, food/snack, candies and cigarettes, fruits, women accessories, books and maps, etc. you name it - who can really get to your nerve if they keep pushing their way onward amidst the dense crowd; and then beggars and handicapped people looking for some money by singing or simply dragging their body over the KRL floor; train singers or music bands (a phenomenon which perhaps we can only find in Indonesia) who sometimes are more of a nuisance than provide entertainment; traders who find KRL to be the cheapest transportation there is to take their bulks of merchandise; and you might never guess this: parents with children who just learn to walk - KRL is a playland for their children!

To wrap my posting, I guess this motto will be just perfect for KRL:
KRL - Find a lot MORE meaning to the word 'travel'!

*Kereta Rel Listrik or Electrically-powered Train
**Tariff for the economy class


Anonymous said...

KRL..kereta kenanganku juga met pas bolak balik depok-salemba (waaakks kebalikan yah :D). hmm bicara ttg transportasi..memang paling ideal bikin sistem transportasi terpadu antara bis dan "tram" kali ya ya met..cuma emang butuh investasi banyak dan yang penting juga perubahan sikap mental kita sbg rakyat :)..kalau ndak merasa punya kewajiban menjaga, pasti nantinya rusak pula seperti model2 kereta KRL yang impor dari jepang dulu di th 90-an :(...have a nice day ya met..


prazz said...

hehehe... emang KRL udeh secara lsg maupun gak lsg ud ngasih jalan buat ngidupin banyak keluarga.. :) dan cuma di KRL kita bisa dapetin (mungkin) sampe 10 item barang hanya dengan uang 5000 perak!! :P :P
for the harassment, pickpocket, etc.. itu keknya udeh jadi satu paket yah sama kehidupan kota besar.. :(
sedangkan utk pemerintah yg naek KRL, seandainya mereka naek juga mgkn 1 gerbong dikosongin khusus buat mereka, klo gak pasti kejadian kek rombongan amien rais yg kecolongan hape sering terjadi :P :P

umar said...

Metty, this is a very thoughtful posting about something I have to deal every morning. A minor detail left out: the unpredictable delay of schedule.

metty said...

ooh, kadang2 saya jg naik yg depok-salemba. btw berarti mbak iin itu dulu kuliah di salemba kah?
bener jg pemikiran mbak. di indonesia emang rada susah ya klo dikasih yg terlalu bagus krn ntar dg mudah dan cpt jd rusak deh barangnya. tp bukan berarti pemerintah gak pay attention thdp keadaan rakyatnya dong mbak. lagian perubahan itu bisa terjadi, tp mgkn gak bisa sesegera yg diinginkan semua org.

rite, rite. tp masa klo orang PT KAI jg dinaikin ke 1 gerbong khusus sih? oke lah klo menteri atau pejabat tinggi negara lainnya, perlakuan khusus msh tolerable. tp klo penggedenya PT KAI minta hal yg sama, waaahh, berarti dia emang gak peduli ama perusahaan yg dia pimpin, maunya cuma terima gaji tuh org (eh, gue jd marah deh :P)

hahaha! betullll ituuu!

the fool said...

Yeah, we can see how the government thinks from the fact that they funded a women-only cart and don't do anything when it's regularly frequented by males who excessively grow both body hair and ignorance.