This weekend, I (jm) had my first experience with the Indonesian train system. It was somewhat amusing and interesting at the same time, so I thought I’d make a few observations.
First of all, an “executive” ticket for the hour ride we took was less than $2 round trip. It’s really hard to figure out when they run, because there are complete schedules up (if you know where to look) at the station but the trains seem to run on some other unwritten schedule. There’s also a funny thing with Indonesians in general, and that is they don’t wait for people to get off before they shove and push to get on (this happens in our elevators all the time). This, plus the limited number of seats on the trains, make getting on the train a somewhat harrowing experience. People also start lining up and waiting about 45 minutes before the departure. While we were waiting, we saw maybe ten train workers jump one by one onto a moving train which was passing through. Tom also told me that people ride on top of the trains, and we indeed saw one guy just hanging out on top of a fast-moving train. There are many trains without a/c, and they typically leave the doors open and people just sit on the steps and hang out.
I think the funniest thing was that in order to get off our train in Bogor , we had jump onto another train parked between us and the station, push our way through it with everyone else, and then jump down on the tracks and run across to the station. I should say “station” because even though Bogor has about 750,000 people, the station consists of one platform with no way to get to it (except by running over the tracks- not very handicapped, child, or elderly friendly) and one small room where they sell tickets. You can’t even see the entrance because there are so many stalls on the street in front, it was hard getting back.
We have to confess that we went to the Dunkin Donuts next to the station while waiting for the counter to open. It’s not our fault! There was nothing else around and it was air conditioned!