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Buses are the primary means of public transportation in Jakarta . Big TATA or Mercedes Benz's span the metropolitan Jakarta , taking you from one main hub to another. On some, the PATAS, you would actually be able to enjoy the comfort of air-conditioning and a high probability of getting a seat. On the regular DAMRI, consider yourself lucky if you can get a seat. When you do, remember to get up and inch towards the exit amidst the sea of people at least 5 minutes before your stop. Fare does not depend on distance.

There are a large number bus companies servicing routes in Jakarta . Many of the larger buses seat 25-40 people (depending on type of bus). The buses have set prices (which should be posted on the bus). Bus companies include the government-owned PPD and Damri, which provides service to the airport. Private companies include Metro Mini. Metromini, if you think that this is a smaller version of whatever nice image you have concocted in your head when you hear the word "Metro", think again. These bright orange beasts roam the streets of Jakarta . If you are 5'11'' or taller, there is only one seat in the bus where you can sit - back row, middle seat, facing the isle. Some buses are air conditioned like Mayasari and Patas AC; they are more expensive. Other bus lines are run by cooperatives like Kopaja and Kopami.

All buses have set routes and set fares, but not set schedules. Students in uniform pay a lower rate - no matter the distance. If you're not sure of the fare, ask other passengers what it is. Pay the “conductor”, who is usually hanging out the back door. He won't have change for big bills.

Buses are the most common transport of the masses. As we near the fourth year of the monetary crisis, they are almost universally in bad condition. There are less buses on the road as the price of spare parts has caused companies to vandalize other buses in their fleet and up to half of many of the fleets may not be roadworthy.

Bus passengers are often the target for robberies, street singers, and beggars - both on the buses and in the major bus terminals. Many bus drivers are notoriously dangerous as they race against each other to try and pick up passengers before the other buses plying the same route. Metro Mini has the worst reputation for poor drivers.

Buses do not necessarily stop at bus stops ... they stop wherever they can pick up a passenger be it in the middle of the road or on a busy intersection. Buses do not necessarily come to a complete stop for passengers to get off and on. So be careful as to which foot you step off the bus with!

The beginning and end points of each bus route are found on the front and back of each bus, along with a route number. If you don't know which bus to take, just ask the people at the bus stop and they'll tell you (helps if you speak Indonesian, of course).

Inter-city buses to other cities in Java and Sumatra (bis antar kota ) can be found at the biggest bus stations - Pulau Gadung, Kampung Rambutan, Lebak Bulus, Blok M, and Kota.

Transjakarta (Busway)This controversial mean of transportation called busway was first operated in 15 January 2004 . The controversial arises from the fact that instead of adding one more lane for busway, it takes one lane which can be utilized for busway only, which makes the road even narrower. Aside from the lane-taking, the city will also extend and expand the three-in-one traffic policy, in which a car using the corridor must have at least three passengers from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. to 7 p.m. , Monday to Friday. Altogether these have created some concern among the transportation observers.

However, despite all the controversial and concerns, after operating for some times, few things to note about busway are the time efficiency, the comfort and the safety for all the passenger of the busway. Those are the reasons many executives, non-nationals and both foreign and domestic tourist choose to ride the busway.

And now, three year has passed, the scorn and suspicion have died down and the red-orange/blue/yellow buses have become inseparable part of Jakarta urban life, the chosen ones in peak hours.




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