there’s something lovely and lively about transjakarta at the weekend

valentina citra
4 min readSep 24, 2023
Photo by Hadianto Raihan on Unsplash

Let’s face it: TransJakarta is far from perfect. Its braking is fraught — a real-life example of Newton’s Law I. The route changes. Its buses are still short in numbers. Sometimes you have to wait for a long time for the bus to arrive, etc. The addition to that is the seems-like-unfinished-ever of the bus stop revitalization. I also read somewhere that the government is trying to make a dumb policy regarding the Tije’s fee. Causing a little uproar on social media where people throwing protests. Sigh again.

Despite all of those bad things that makes the citizen and people of Jakarta let out a long long long sigh, Tije is one of the popular public transportation systems in Indonesia’s capital city.

Commuting with Tije on the weekdays could be stressful, especially during the rush hour.

On the weekdays, you can find that Tije is filled with people going to work. Even at 5 or 6 AM, people are already fighting for a seat or a space in the Tije. During the rush hour, the voice from the officer is trying to reach everyone’s ear, competing with the loud announcement from the speaker. We have no oshiya — the train pusher in Japan — so it’s just everyone vs. everyone.

Photo by Riffat Muntaz on Unsplash

When you’re on Tije, the sight of people sleeping until their heads down, going back and forth because of Newton’s Law I is the usual view you’ll get. You can even find people sleeping while standing. Sometimes, you can see some dramas; people fighting for a seat, telling one another to stop pushing, people who missed their bus stop, people who suddenly jump and run out of the bus because they just realized that this was their stop, and just last Friday I saw in front of my eyes—a girl was jump into the bus and almost get caught by the automatic door, and many more.

But I’ve ridden Tije a few times on the weekend and sometimes, I find something lovely and lively about it. I’m quite observant sometimes, and I love to romanticize life, so I cannot help but notice a few things about this Tije ride.

Tije on the weekend is still packed. But with different kinds of people. Less worker, more family, or a bunch of friends hanging out.

Tije on the weekend is more colorful. People dress nicely, ready to go to their dating places, parks, museums, theme parks, concerts, or an event. They might still be the same person who jostles in the Tije on the weekdays and it’s the different side of them on the weekend. They might be sleeping during the ride on the weekdays, but laughing with their friends or family on the weekend.

A couple of times, I heard a group of elderly talking in the backseat of the Tije when I was about to visit The National Library. As my frequency of riding the Tije during the weekend increases, I notice that this is a common thing — having conversations with people beside you even though you both are strangers. Sometimes I overheard their talks. It could be anything; their family, their weekend plan, the business stuff, the critics about the government, anything. Those conversations are the thing that makes Tije at the weekend lively.

A lot of times, I would see some families who are about to or already spend their weekend occupying seats in the Tije. Sometimes the children don’t want to sit down. They run here and there, laughing and telling their parents or siblings stories. Some adults even join in their antics. A couple of times, I can see them taught by their parents about how Tije works, showing them the bus stops, it’s like introducing them the public transportation and I admire that.

There was also some lovely sight. It’s cute to see a couple sitting close together with their hands intertwined (although sometimes it makes me jealous because, well, I’m just here on my own). When I see people talking with their group of friends, it reminds me of my friends in Semarang and how much I miss them and want them to be here with me. A group of family in the Tije makes me wonder when was the last time I hung out with my family.

All of those things; the different kinds of people, the laughing, the conversations, are the things that make this city alive. You can see and feel it when you notice it. Those are some mundane things on the weekend that are heartwarming.

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valentina citra

a living mayhem with wandering mind | write in ina / eng | @aleviannt_