Good news, commuters: Minibus operator PT Koperasi Angkutan Jakarta (Kopaja) says it has put into service several new air-conditioned buses on the Ragunan-Tanah Abang P19 and Senen-Lebak Bulus P20 routes.
As an extra incentive, the buses will offer passengers free Wi-Fi Internet access as part of the standard Rp 5,000 (53 US cent) fare.
Six of the new buses started operation on Thursday: four on the P19 route and two on the P20.
Kopaja chairman Nanang Basuki said the company was planning to add even more air-conditioned buses in the next several weeks.
“Another 20 buses are due to arrive within the next two weeks,” Nanang said.
The Transportation Ministry has authorized Kopaja to operate a maximum of 83 air-conditioned buses on the P19 line and 102 such buses on the P20 line.
Nanang said that those two routes were chosen for the Internet-enabled buses given their passenger make up, principally office workers commuting between home and offices in the Sudirman Central Business District.
“We have observed that these types of passengers are very familiar with information-technology gadgets and would want to stay connected, even when commuting,” Nanang said on the sidelines of a launching ceremony for the buses near Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta.
Kopaja’s Ragunan-Tanah Abang route makes stops in Ampera, Arteri Pondok Indah, Wijaya, Iskandarsyah, Sisingamangaraja, Sudirman, Thamrin and Cideng.
Meanwhile, the Senen–Lebak Bulus line stops in Bungur, Gunung Sahari, Lapangan Banteng, Tugu Tani, Menteng, Thamrin and on Jl. Rasuna Said.
Nanang said that Kopaja had only been able to roll out six new buses, each with a maximum capacity of 25 passengers.
“We are still working to rejuvenate our fleet; it’s a long term plan. We need Rp 500 million [$53,500] for each new bus,” he said.
After the launch of the new buses on Thursday, Kopaja now operates 26 air-conditioned buses, including 20 that entered service in August last year.
The air-conditioned buses all serve Kopaja’s S-13 route between Ragunan, Slipi and Grogol.
The air-conditioned buses have been hailed as a success in the revitalization of the capital’s ailing public transportation system, as the buses stop only at designated points, as opposed to the whims of passengers and drivers. Drivers are also paid a fixed salary.
Kopaja has also been planning to introduce an Internet and SMS system so passengers can determine the Kopaja stop closest to them.
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo, who officiated at the launch, welcomed the improvements. “This is not only an inauguration, but also a transition from the old Kopaja buses to the new.”
Kopaja is one of two minibus operator in Jakarta; the other being Metromini.
The blue-and-orange minibuses of Metromini and Kopaja, some of which have been in operation since the 1980s, are a ubiquitous site on the city’s streets, often dilapidated, belching smoke and travelling at nerve-racking speeds.
The Jakarta Transportation Agency previously said that about 65 percent of Metromini’s 3,101 vehicles were in good condition, while about 70 percent of Kopaja’s 1,473 minibuses.