Living in Indonesia, A Site for Expatriates

Check out What's New on the Expat Web Site
Information for foreigners moving to Indonesia

Home » Practical Information » Expat Stories

Buses from Hell

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

Translate this Page

Bookmark and Share
Links to hundreds of articles giving practical information for expats moving to Indonesia
Post your questions or communicate with other expats in Indonesia on the Expat Forum
Looking for a place to stay in Indonesia - check out the Housing Forum
Looking for a weekend or holiday getaway ... visit some of Indonesia's Great Escapes
Advice and resources for conducting business in Indonesia
Info on expatriate community organizations in Indonesia
Shops, Products and Services
Links to other useful Indonesian or expat-related web sites
Expat Humor - spread the joys of Living in Indonesia through e-postcards
Site Map
Return to the Home Page
expatriate information for Indonesia

Buses in Jakarta are not pretty. Indonesians do not beautify their transport like the Filipinos do their Jeepneys or the Pakistani’s their buses. One bus company in Jakarta probably has the ugliest buses and are the most hated sight for most of the city's motorists - the Metro Mini.

Metro Mini’s are a medium sized bus with plastic bucket seats tightly packed together on a dirty metal floor. They are painted bright orange, but are rarely washed, and each bus has its route number stuck on the front window.

Being privately owned, Metro Minis are rented out by the day. They compete against each other plying the same route. The driver and conductor earn what is left from the day's takings, minus diesel and the daily rental fee. They are usually responsible for any damage done to the bus whilst they rent it.

So Metro Minis have broken lights, bits of metal hanging from them and cracked passenger windows - a dirty orange death trap that is cramped, hot, cheap and incredibly fast.

I nicknamed them the “Bullet Bus.” Some enterprising crews name them too, putting crude stickers in the back window. I have seen one Metro Mini with a huge ‘jablay” sticker in the back, Jablay meaning a cheap prostitute in Indonesian.

One trademark of the ‘Bullet Bus’ crew is that they pick passengers up all along their route and drop them off anywhere, usually without stopping. So passengers jump on and off the Metro mini, often in the middle of the road. They also race other Metro Minis that ply the same route for passengers.

Returning from one contract on a Friday evening, I sat in a taxi that was carefully following two racing Metro Minis. They were both racing side by side on the road, their conductors swinging out of the open passenger doors shouting their destination.

Fascinated, I watched them dodge lesser cars as they raced faster, cars behind us slowed down and a bigger gap appeared between us. Then one bus pulled in front of the other seeing a passenger, moments later they had crashed. The taxi I was in slowly passed both of them.

I could see a steady stream of visibly shaken, bleeding passengers jumping out of the first bus. The second Metro Mini just drove off, and I could see the driver had jumped out of the broken front window of the first bus and run away.

The taxi driver just continued on as if nothing had happened, and I could still see the Metro Minis driver running behind us, until he disappeared into a crowd on the sidewalk, leaving behind a badly damaged bus and injured passengers.

Every time I am stuck behind a Metro Mini, I remember that incident, and my fiancée wonders why I refuse to travel by bus?

by Mark W Medley

Copyright © 2008, Mark W Medley, City of Dreams: An extraordinary journey, inside the heart of Indonesia's capital - Jakartabooks about indonesia

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

Practical Information |  Expat Forum |  Site Map  |  Search |  Home Page |  Contact

Return to top

Copyright © 1997-2018, Expat Web Site Association Jakarta, Indonesia All rights reserved. The information on Living in Indonesia, A Site for Expatriates may not be retransmitted or reproduced in any form without permission. This information has been compiled from sources which we, the Expat Web Site Association and volunteers related to this site, believe to be reliable. While reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the facts are accurate and up-to-date, opinions and commentary are fair and reasonable, we accept no responsibility for them. The information contained does not make any recommendation upon which you can rely without further personal consideration and is not an offer or a solicitation to buy any products or services from us. Opinions and statements constitute the judgment of the contributors to this web site at the time the information was written and may change without notice.