Train lovers help out homebound travelers
Paper Edition | Page: 5
A teenager stood by a Matramaja train serving the Jakarta–Malang route in Pasar Senen station, Central Jakarta, while holding a board with a number four written on it.
“Coach number four is here, numbers five to eight are to the rear,” he said in a loud but polite voice, directing passengers.
Fifteen-year-old Nurdiansyah, newly enrolled at a senior high school in Bogor, said he really loved trains simply for their shapes and that he often spent his spare time in train stations just to observe the coming and going of trains. His fervent adoration for trains was what drove him to spend his Idul Fitri holidays helping out homebound travelers at the station along with his friends from Edan Sepur, or Train Freak, community.
The youths are easily spotted assisting passengers at Pasar Senen station and Kota station in West Jakarta.
They either stand next to every coach of a boarding train while holding a board with the coach number written on it, walk around the station offering help to passengers who need assistance, or guard the stations’ information center to serve people who ask for train schedules. They wear dark blue jackets with “Komunitas Edan Sepur Indonesia” written on the back.
Edan Sepur, a community of train aficionados set up in Jatinegara, East Jakarta by a group of six train enthusiasts in 2009, is now in its third year volunteering at stations during the annual exodus of Idul Fitri.
The community’s spokesman, Helmi LS, said that Edan Sepur’s Java and Sumatra chapters were also volunteering to help the state-owned railways company PT KAI and homebound travelers at their own respective stations starting from Aug. 13 to a week after Idul Fitri.
In Jakarta, Helmi said, around 100 volunteers assisted train passengers, with around 70 of them dispatched to help at Pasar Senen station and the rest at Jakarta Kota station, which had fewer trains arriving.
“We decided not to serve Gambir station [in Central Jakarta], which hosts executive and business class trains as most passengers are from the middle class. They seem used to boarding trains and don’t need
assistance,” he said.
As most of their approximately 1,000 members throughout Indonesia were youngsters in the 17-24 age bracket, Helmi said that the activity was also aimed at teaching their members virtues.
“I don’t expect any money. I always feel good every time I help someone and that’s enough for me,” said Mozza, 18.
Mozza added that her love for trains came not only from their traffic congestion free premise, but also because she was fond of interacting with other volunteers and passengers who often boarded in a rush without asking who the young volunteers actually were.
“Moreover, as my family are not joining the exodus to their hometowns in Central Java this year, being a volunteer has given me the chance to see how this place changes,” the Bekasi resident said.
Although helping out at stations during the holidays used up time with their families, volunteers said that their parents did not object to their involvement in such activities.
“My parents are very happy with me volunteering at train stations. They even told me to do this kind of activity more often as it is very positive and gives me good experience,” Rangga, 15, said.
Parents and passengers are not the only ones pleased.
PT KAI Greater Jakarta spokesman Mateta Rizalulhaq said that the volunteers were very helpful to his company and looked forward to them doing more activities. (aml)
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