Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bending the rule

Eventually, I enjoyed driving over the busway

Enough… I gave up! Stuck for hours, I couldn’t stand waiting for cars in front of me to move forward, while seeing other road users using a lane on my right side; busway

I never drove a car or rode a motorbike in Jakarta before. I usually take a cab or a bus to reach my wife’s office or to go to other destinations in Jakarta city. I always criticized people who drove their personal cars on the “busway” or the bus lane. I couldn’t understand why they drove on the lane that they were not supposed to. 

The busway should be solely for public busses and it has been built only for the convenience of public transportation. Motorbikes and private vehicles are not supposed to use the busway. That’s the rule!

One day, when I was in a cab, going from Sudirman to Gatot Subroto, I was trapped in a badly traffic jam around Semanggi area. The cab driver tried the best getting out of it and he eventually had a chance to take the lane of the public bus. I scrutinized him. I told him if everybody on the road did the same, the traffic will be worse. He simply goes, “Sir, everyone is doing it. If I didn’t take the busway, somebody else will do and we’ll never reach your office.” I was clumsy, couldn’t reply him, not a single word.

Another day, I was in a Bus P6, heading from Cawang Uki to Slipi junction. The bus driver had the same bad behavior; taking over the bus way. He suddenly leapt from one lane to another, and whenever there is a chance, he innocently took the busway. 

Well, most public bus drivers are so energetic but insane. They drive the bus like they’re the owner of the road. They drive slowly on the left lane and suddenly take over the right lane. And most of the time, they speed up the engine and suddenly slow it down while taking over the left lane just to pick up a passenger who is standing by on the road with “no stop” symbol. So, never drive your car on the left side of any public transportation in this city. Otherwise, they crush you alive!

Yesterday, I eventually did the same. I bent the rule. 

After struggling for hours to get out of the dense traffic around Pancoran area, I had the chance to leap from my lane to the public bus lane. I felt guilty but enjoyed it.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bandung Remains the Same

What things are still the same from Bandung City?

I recently visited Bandung to see my family. It’s been more than a year from the last visit, and I don’t see any significant differences from time to time about the city.

What I mean about no differences is the fact that generally there is no better condition in term of quality of life in Bandung.

Quality of life? What does it mean? What are the parameters?

Life and living in Bandung is pretty much the same like two, three or even four years ago. It’s no better improvement. Here are the parameters that support my judgment:

Crazy Traffic Jam

Road traffic jams happen almost in every single corner of the city. Let’s take an example; it happened to me when I went from Batu Jajar to the Bandung city. People say, if you ride a motor bike, it takes only 30 to 45 minutes. In fact, I spent more than 2 hours because of the traffic disaster occur in almost every junction and cross road I passed. It’s really crazy and I did not expect it took that long. I was so exhausted and lost control but could not do anything. I didn’t see even a single police to help and control the situation, where the hell they were?

Bad Public Transportation

It’s quite different when you compare with Jakarta. In certain areas in Badung, you can see hundred of only one-type or the same route of Bemo (kind of medium size public vehicle) flocked on the road. In some areas, you don’t see even a single bemo around. In some other areas, you find only dozens of private vehicles and millions of motorbike. Let’s look at the condition of the public busses and bemos, they’re all bad. They’re stink, dirty, old-rustic-warn out vehicles and not save. Particularly most of the Bemo drivers, they’re crazy. They drive the way they want. They can stop suddenly while driving zigzag.

Bad Public Facilities

I can understand if the government doesn’t need to build pedestrian in sub-urban areas, but I can’t accept if I am not comfortable walking through pedestrian in the town. The pedestrians are not flat, dirty, very narrow, poor-maintained and even in some areas, they’re completely damaged.

Other public infrastructures and facilities like traffic light, road light, phone booth, dust bin, bus terminal, bus halt, bridge, public car park, city walk, city park, bus way, etc have the same challenges; they’re all bad and not properly maintained.

Heavy Air Pollution

If you are walking on the street or riding your bike around cities in Bandung regency or nearby, you better put on your mask to cover your nose, because the air is damned heavily polluted. It’s not healthy at all for your lung and your respiration system. You can even literally see the black-smelly-killing smoke coming out of a very old bus or truck. Not only vehicles, heavy air pollution raises due to high numbers of motorbike on the road as well as heavy industrial factories built in Bandung. People know, beside garment, Bandung has numerous types of manufactory industries and this help increase level of air pollution in the region.

Bad Garbage Management

Have you ever passed by an area or street and suddenly your brain automatically instructed your hand to cover your nose while your tongue was asked to yell and swear like hell? That must because you’re passing by a street which was surrounded by a huge-uncovered-dumped garbage. During rainy season, it’s worse, and it reminds me to a massive disaster happened couple years back, where hundred of residents in a village in Bandung were forced to leave their homes to avoid more death tolls due to land-slide from mountains of garbage, managed by the local government. It was literally horrible garbage-slides that killed villagers.

People in Bandung also seems don’t care about taking care of their domestic waste. They just simple throw their rubbish wherever they want. What about the government? What have they done? See and ask yourself. The true answer should be a big zero.