The Worst, and the Best (Surabaya, Jogja, Dortmund(Germany))

Isn’t it comfortable to be mobile with public transportations?
Isn’t it somehow cheaper to be mobile with public transportations?

I once had an Australian acquaintance whose work is dealing with transportation systems. One of the job desks is to analyze which public transports are suitable to a country, or a city after considering some factors.And one time for a few years he worked in Indonesia, especially in metropolitan cities like Surabaya for instance. It seems that public transports are not such an easy topic to discuss. However, I just want to let my voice out.

You see, in Surabaya a city in Indonesia where I come from, public transports are a mess, IMHO.
From A to Z
I only mean to say the kinds of public transports are varied. If you have ever been to Indonesia, you might be able to come up with at least one kind of public transport here.Genau!(the German word for ‘you got that right’ something like that.) becak ( three-wheel pedicab), bemo (in Surabaya, it is a non-AC mini bus that can transport 16 people altogether.).

The minus : The streets are loaded with too many vehicles, and of course they ‘help’ us distribute more and more pollution.Sometimes, the streets become unmanagable a.k.a ‘Semrawut’ in Javanese. Even though, nowadays ‘becak’ is not allowed anymore on main streets or bigger streets. The strange thing is that I have never seen a street sign with the image of becak being crossed,as a result one or two becak are sometimes so bold that they are seen on big streets. But I’ll cross ‘becak’ out of the list of comparison of public transports.

You see, the public transport in Surabaya, especially bemo doesn’t have ‘fixed time’ when to come or to leave.I know for those who have never been exploring Indonesia might be wondering, and coming up with too many questions :’how come?’ It is up to the drivers how long they will stop in, say, a bemo station.When the passengers who have been sitting in one bemo start to grumble saying like ‘When are you leaving soon? I am late to work already!’ then it is the sign for the driver to start the engine and go!. But, sometimes the drivers do not seem to care: ‘It is my ‘bemo’, and I need more passengers to have more money.’So, if you are late because of the bemo, it is NEVER the bemo’s driver’s fault, it is, sadly ALWAYS your fault. A boss in an office says ‘If you know Bemo behaviour is unpredictable, why don’t you leave earlier like 5 am if the meeting is 7 am for example.’ And it goes without saying, the employees would say by heart ‘ Yeah, right’ (sleepy eyes mode.)

The plus :
People do not have to worry too much if they do not have private cars as for the many choices of public transports in the city for as long as one knows which bemo to take to go to a destined place. In this case, you only need to do a little bit of ‘research’ about the directions and which bemos go to the directions, like how many times you need to switch bemos, and where to stop. In case you have no time to do that kind of ‘research’, do not worry! Indonesia is known as a thousand-smile country: the driver or sometimes the other passengers in the bemo you are in, will help you out.

At the Transjogja station

In Jogjakarta, a special region in Indonesia, has somehow a better public transport system than in Surabaya. The kind of public transport which is more manageable and comfortable, and gives you more of the + than the -. It is called ‘Trans Jogja’ a big air-conditioned bus that can transport for sure more than 16 people, I can’t come up with the exact number of passengers, blame on my laziness googling! You go google, and tell me! This ‘TransJogja’ has a fixed time when to come and where to stop. It has its own track. You are not allowed to stop in the spot where there is no TransJogja station, unlike bemo in Surabaya. In every Trans station, you can see the destined places of the Trans, once again we are such a friendly country that we even hire a human to help us in case we are still in doubt and can’t really read what is written on the ‘Fahrplan’ or maps of travel plans of the Trans. Inside the TransJogja, there is of course another employee again (apart from the driver)who tells us about the destined place to which the Trans will stop ‘Pemberhentian selanjutnya Prambanan.’,’Nächste Halt ist Prambanan, ‘The next stop is Prambanan.’ Even though, I have only taken ‘TransJogja’ a few times, I would say it shares nearly the same system applied in Germany.


Zeit is ganz wichtig in Deutschland= Time is important in Germany. The U-Bahn (Untergrun=Underground public transport) for instance, has fixed time when to come, and leave. The ‘Fahrplan’ is also available in the U-Bahn stations or in the internet. Genau! it is also available online. No Wonder advanced cellphones can be more usefull here than in Indonesia.Not that I say that Germany is not a friendly country, but in this kind of public transport, announcement about the next stop is best announced intercom, and if one is not familiar with the sound of the language, do not panic! your destined place is displayed on the display screen on the train.

Having been taking the U-Bahn, and the S-Bahn(Straße =Street) Bahn (which is similar to TransJogja)I found them comfortable. The streets are more manageable, at least in my opinion, and there is less pollution.

Jogja is leading one step ahead to a better future regarding public transports, in this case modern one ‘bemo’. I wonder when Surabaya, which is bigger than Jogja will alter the ‘bemo’ into TransSurabaya. The questions might be on the unemployment rate, whether the alteration would bring more benefits or would bring more chaos because of the demonstrations from the bemos’ drivers.But, I am as one of the passengers will think ‘it will be comfortable to be sitting on the AC bus in such a super hot weather of Surabaya.’

After 2 months 13 days moving to Germany as a happy wife

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2 responses to “The Worst, and the Best (Surabaya, Jogja, Dortmund(Germany))

  1. I wished there’s more public transportation here in India. I used to be so spontaneous and move so easily in Thailand because we have so many bus and mini bus like that almost every corner of the streets. I used to get in to a bus once here in India, it was so crowded that I was almost suffocated to death.

    • I can imagine that there are more of public transportations in Thailand than in India. I wonder how you travel now, still by bus?

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