Fri, 22 Sep 2000

Train commuters ran amok over delay

JAKARTA (JP): Upset over a delay, some 100 passengers on a Bekasi-Kota electric train ran amok at the Jatinegara train station in East Jakarta on Thursday morning.

There were no injuries in the incident, but the mob destroyed doors, windows and equipment in the office of state railway firm PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) and a waiting room in the station.

The violence at the station caused many other passengers waiting for trains to flee the platforms.

A security guard at the station, Nanang, said some of the angry passengers stole Rp 120,000 cash from the ticket booths, but were detained by the station's security guards.

"They were then handed over to the police, who arrived at 9:30 a.m. (about one hour after the incident began)," he said.

According to the deputy master of the Jatinegara station, Sujoto, the Bekasi-Kota train stopped at the station at 8:30 a.m. and was unable to move away from the platform due to a "mechanical problem".

A station employee then asked the passengers to exit the train and wait for the next train from Bekasi, which would take them to their final destinations, Sujoto said.

The employee explained to the passengers the four-car train had to be repaired at Bukit Duri train station.

The majority of the passengers, who had already been stranded for 50 minutes at the Bekasi station because of mechanical difficulties, refused to accept the explanation and began to run amok.

The 20 security guards at the station were unable to restrain the passengers, Sujoto said.

Trains heading to Jatinegara station from other points of embarkation were ordered to stop at Cipinang station.

Sujoto added that the train schedule was not overly disturbed because police managed to disperse the mob fairly quickly.

Officials are still calculating the costs for repairing the damage to the station.

Andri, another security guard at Jatinegara, said that during the morning the passengers were always in a hurry to get to work or school.

But he added that outside of mechanical troubles, the trains never stayed too long at the station, loading and unloading passengers in about 10 minutes. (07)