The Jakarta Post
A handful of people wearing batik and civil servant uniforms queued to board the double-decker city tour bus at the National Museum bus stop in Central Jakarta recently.
The Jakarta administration has operated five double-decker tour buses, which passengers can board for free, since February.
The tour buses, equipped with a tour guide and a police officer, were meant to help non-Jakartans see the city's sights.
However, it seems many working Jakartans are taking advantage of the buses as part of their daily commute.
One passenger, Yuni, a civil servant at the Communications and Information Ministry in Central Jakarta, said she boarded the bus daily after work to travel from the National Museum stop to Juanda in Central Jakarta.
'The buses are clean, comfortable and free to board. From my office, it is a bit difficult to find public transportation to travel to Juanda Station so that's why I board the city tour bus,' Yuni told The Jakarta Post recently.
Before the buses operated, she said she traveled to Juanda Station in Central Jakarta using an ojek (motorcycle taxi) or a Transjakarta bus.
'I have to transit twice and walk really far to go to Juanda Station if I board a Transjakarta bus. An ojek or taxi is too expensive. Thankfully there is the city tour bus,' Yuni added.
Similarly, Sri, a civil servant at the Jakarta administration, said she boarded the bus at City Hall in Central Jakarta to Sarinah where she boarded a Transjakarta bus.
She said there were no Transjakarta buses from City Hall that traveled to Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta.
'It's easier to board the city tour bus. It's also free and it's very convenient,' she said.
Sri added that before boarding the city tour buses, she used Kopaja minibuses to travel to a Transjakarta bus shelter on Jl. MH Thamrin.
Most Kopaja minibuses in Jakarta are non-air-conditioned and usually the drivers are reckless.
Sri added that she supported Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama's plan to provide double-decker buses for public transportation commuters traveling along the city's streets.
Previously, Ahok had said that when the electronic road pricing (ERP) system was implemented, the city would provide double-decker buses free of charge for those unwilling to pay to pass through the ERP gates.
'The plan should be realized quickly. It will be very convenient for commuters and I'm sure many people, including myself, will board the bus. But for now, I will board the city tour bus,' said Sri.
Operating from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays, the city tour bus route starts at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and heads to the National Museum, then to Jl. Ir. Juanda, Pecenongan, Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, the Jakarta Cathedral, Istiqlal Mosque, the State Palace, the National Monument (Monas) park, City Hall and Sarinah shopping mall before returning to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.
The capital's tourism agency is also preparing another fleet of buses to serve a second route, which will start from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and continue on to
Jl. Sudirman, the Semanggi cloverleaf, Jl. Gatot Subroto, the Sultan Hotel, the TVRI national TV building, the Mulia Hotel, Plaza Senayan shopping mall and return to Jl. Sudirman, ending at the traffic circle.
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