Thursday, 7 November 2013

Ankhet dan Angkot

Another old unpublished post...
One of the words above is my name and the other is the name of a type of transportation in Indonesia. They sound the same though so there have been many jokes about Ankhet riding in angkots.

So let's start with the form of public transportation I frequent most often - the angkot. It is a small van, most in Jakarta are red, with an open door that you just hop into and ride for however long you need along an arranged path. When you reach your destination you just yell out 'Kiri' (it means left I guess because the driver pulls over to the left) or you can thump on the top of van. They are really convenient if you need to ride short distances like home from school. I don't like riding them during rush hour because they can get really full. One time I was riding an angkot along a popular route back to my house and counted 14 people inside! Are they dangerous? Well I guess if you think about 14 people smushing into 1 van that keeps its doors open (some people will stand in the door if it gets full) while trying to weave its way through traffic as fast as it can, then yeah you could say it's not the safest. More so people are worried about thievery because in the tight space it would be easy for someone to steal your wallet or phone. Really though I love it. It gets me home quickly, and conveniently for only 20 cents.
On one empty ride I took out my camera to get a few pictures of the inside. I would not chance this had it been a bit more full
Trans Jakarta/busway As the name suggests this type of bus is found only in Jakarta. I've heard plans of it being extended to cities surrounding Jakarta (the greater Jakarta are) because many people commute to Jkt. It's a huge bus raised high off the ground with many 'stations' placed around the city. You can not just hop in - you have to purchase a ticket (35cents) and then you wait in the station until your bus comes. You can transit and go on different lines. When Indonesians ask me about the subway I compare it to busway. It takes you along a designated route with designated stops in its own lane. I love Trans too even though it can get really crowded and you might have to stand.



The actual bus (bis) - I've only taken the actual bus twice; when I was returning from Karawang and when I went to the airport to go to Kalimantan. It's a regular travel bus that can take you to different cities. They range in how nice they are. The one to the airport was pretty nice - almost everyone had a seat, there was music playing, you got a receipt upon payment. It cost 25,000rp so about $2.50. There's no real difference between these and American buses except these are meant to go farther and they can stop whenever a customer decides they want to get out. There is a designated end but if you see your street before that - feel free to hop out.

Becak - I've only ridden this once in Karawang but they have them in many cities. It is a little cart placed in front of a bicycle. They go as fast as the driver can pedal and will take you for a short while. There's not much use for them in the large streets of Jakarta - too slow, too much traffic, your destination is probably a bit far but in smaller towns or even just smaller area they are a fun way to look around as you get to where you want to go.


There's another cart similar to the becak but it's behind a three wheeled car. I've only ridden it once and it was only to go down the street a bit. It was meeehh. Again only useful if you need to go somewhere pretty close.

    When I'm not taking public transportation I am in my family's car or walking. My family has a driver which is not uncommon for families that can afford it. If I'm being picked up or dropped off at school he usually takes us. 
    I walk only by myself or when I'm with other Americans. Indonesians aren't very fond of walking. They are really surprised when I tell them I walk to Tamini my local mall which is less than 25 minutes walking. One time I even walked from my school there and people were just shocked. It was less than an hour and I was walking very slowly. I like walking places for the exercise but I do not like all the smog I inhale along the way.

2 comments:

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