Thursday, December 02, 2010

Adventures in Transportation or 101 ways to get to work

Now that I've moved to a different part of the city I have to reassess and reconfigure my routes and modes of transportation.  If you are a regular reader you'll know that I have had many an issue with transport, particularly ojeks, here in Indonesia. The new 'Pejaten era' of my life here is no different.  The ride to and from work should be fairly straight forward; go down my street to the next major street, hang a left and go and go and go.  At the end of the trip there is a right and then two left turns to get into the school.  The key word in that last sentence is should.
I know Jakarta can feel like this.  I wonder what it actually looks like from above. Courtesy of

The first day (Tuesday) I went from my new home to work by taxi.  7,000Rp for the toll and 40,000Rp for the ride.  Ouch! Remember I was paying 65,000Rp round trip for an ojek from my old place which was farther away. I'm a bit stumped about the toll system. I took a toll road on the way to a business class I teach on Wednesdays and that toll was only 2,000Rp.  Each toll has it's own amount but I am not privy to why each one is different. The two to the airport are 4,500Rp and 6,500Rp. I found out there's a free teachers bus (aka van) that makes two stops-Citos mall and Blok M. It only runs in the afternoons at 4pm.  Citos isn't too far from me so I took the bus there with the intention of getting a kopaja bus or angkot home; ojek was the backup plan.  The ojeks wanted 25,000Rp even after Carlas maid said it should be 5-10,000Rp tops. I waited 15 minutes for the appropriate bus or angkot with no luck.  Taxi again.

On Wednesday I went looking for an ojek.  I walked with Carla to her school, about 12 minutes down the road.  No ojeks were to be found.  Instead one of the very sweet security guards from her school gave me a ride.  I asked him how much twice and he just blushed so I insisted he take 20,000Rp for gas.  He said there's no bus or angkot that runs to my school from Carla's school.  Hmmmm. I finished work at 3:30pm but was waiting for the teachers bus. At 3:45pm the Korean coordinator in my department, the same one who got the teachers bus info for me the day before, came into the staff room and said "what are you doing here?" I informed her I was waiting for the bus. She said it left at 3:30pm.  at 3:30, only on Wednesdays.  A small detail she neglected to tell me before 3:30pm on a Wednesday. Taxi again.

Thursday I felt prepared and took a Transjakarta bus down the road to Ragunan.  The bus is 2,000Rp, runs constantly is nearly deserted in that direction at that hour and the stop is 2 minutes from my building.  My plan was to get an ojek from Ragunan thinking it would be cheaper from there. Of the five ojeks at the stand only one even vaguely knew where it was. He wanted 50,000Rp. I laughed and told him a taxi was cheaper than that. he waved me off so I got a taxi to work.  The meter was at 30,000Rp when he made a wrong turn.  He said "sorry, sorry, just 30,000Rp, ok?" 15 minutes later I made it to work,.  The meter was at 46,000Rp but I gave him 30. I hate it when you tell them where you want to go and they go "ya, ya, ya" and act like they know exactly where it is but they don't know where they're going.  I found an ojek here near my school to go home.  He wanted 50,000Rp as well.  I offered 20,000Rp, we agreed on 30,000Rp. The trip took about 25 minutes and was a straight shot.  I'll see how he feels about me today when I ask to go to the bus station.
Busway even has their own driving lane. Most stops are accessible by an overhead bridge. Courtesy of

This morning I woke up at 05:30am.  At 05:45am the sky opened and it poured. My plan the night before was to try to catch an angkot, or transjakarta bus and then angkot. This method should cost between three and five thousand Rupiah in all. Opposite to what usually happens, the roads emptied and there were very few angkots or buses to be found.  Normally everyone jumps on transport since they don't want to be in the rain.  I waited with Carla for her taxi.  I still hadn't seen more than one agnkot when it arrived so I went with her.  We dropped her off and I carried on to school.  42,000Rp no toll which isn't bad considering the rain induced traffic on the school road.
Angkot! I need red #S15A. Courtesy of

Taxis are a nice option because you have personal space and no pollution in your face (it rhymes, I could write commercials) but they get expensive and can be slow. Ojeks are quicker and sometimes cheaper but there is lots of gear required (helmet, rain clothes, anti-pollution mask).  Buses are usually packed and slow but cheap and out of the rain. I will be leaving school after I finish this.  The goal is to find out from the security staff if I can get an angkot to the KP bus station.  If I can I'll do that, if not I'll get an ojek there.  It should be about 7,000Rp there I'm told.  From there I can get an angkot that should take me to my street, a three or four minute walk from there and I'm home.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I'll let you know!

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