Tue, 14 May 2002

Nobody relishes a ride on a city bus

Public transportation is one of the most important elements of a big city like Jakarta. Many people, including students, depend on public transportation to travel from one place to another. Therefore, they spontaneously reacted upon learning of the city administration's plan to increase fares.

Granita Ramadhani, 17, a student at the University of Indonesia's School of Cultural Studies. Born in Jakarta, she grew up in Bintaro, South Jakarta, and now lives in a rented room near her campus in Depok.

Sexual harassment! That's what you get if you take public transportation here. It happens not only to women, but to men as well. A man touched my best friend's body one day. My friend is a man, who happens to be cute. It happens even in broad daylight.

I think sexual harassment occurs because the vehicles are overcrowded. Conductors and drivers insist on getting as many passengers as they can even though the vehicles cannot accommodate them all. No wonder many passengers have to stand up during the trip. Some passengers harass others at that time.

I don't mind if the administration wants to increase fares, but only under one condition: public transportation managements must improve their services as well. I'm pessimistic that the services will be improved because the managements always break their promises every time the administration sets new fares.

Luthfi, 20, lives in Bogor, West Java. He is a student at the University of Indonesia's School of Political and Social Sciences.

My opinion about public transportation here? I have no other answer but bad. Passengers get nothing but overcrowded buses and compartments, sweat and intimidation.

Extortion is nothing new aboard public vehicles. I experienced it once. You must be very careful if you decide to take public transportation here.

In fact, I don't agree with the administration's plan to sharply increase fares. It will only become more burdensome for the common people, including students like me. I think a 10 percent increase would be enough to cover operational costs due to the fuel price hike.

Wita Rismayanti, 23, a student at the University of Indonesia's School of Cultural Studies. She has lived in Ciledug, on the border between Tangerang and South Jakarta, since 1980.

I can mention several reasons why I consider all public transportation here appalling. First, it's not safe. The drivers are usually reckless and, of course, hoodlums are found on most public vehicles.

The second is that public vehicles are not environmentally friendly. The city administration obliges all public vehicles to pass emission tests before running around the city. But the fact is the opposite.

And of course, you can't expect to have a comfortable trip regarding the poor condition of most public vehicles, particularly regular buses.

I definitely don't agree to an increase in fares. It does not equate with the services, and I can't imagine how low-income people will cope as they have no other choice but to use public transportation. -- JP