The road stories

In a hectic morning, I and other passengers were transferred from Jakarta city bus Kopaja 608 to another bus that would take us all to Blok M terminal, South Jakarta. All of us were complaining about this. But what else could we do? We just paid Rp 2,000 or US$ 0.2 for each trip. Such low fee for the poor service.

image source:

The next bus was packed. A lot of people, including me, were forced to stand even when the bus was struggling to pass traffic jam leading to Jalan Sinabung. Thankfully, the bus managed to pass through the congestion then it arrived around Bulungan area within minutes. As the bus was waiting for green light in an intersection, a couple of street singers entered the bus. They started to sing briefly. That day was their lucky one as some people were willing to hand out some cash to them.

Transjakarta bus as taken from

The singers gratefully took the money. But when they noticed a woman in headscarf wanting to take some coins out of a plate, the singer politely refused. I took a glance and almost cried as I knew the woman who wanted to give the money was a beggar. She sat next to me just few meters nearby the terminal. Given few coins in the plate and how she dressed, I strongly believe she is.

At one point, I felt pity to her. Poverty does force everyone, including this person, to take any jobs they can to survive, including by begging others kindness. But on the other hand, I was deeply touched with her attitude who still wanted to share a little of her fortune with those, who were probably richer than she is.

I thought about this woman few moments after the bus reached the terminal and she went nowhere to be seen. I continued my journey to the office in Rawamangun.

Every day, I notice lots and lots of people, especially those from low class, make ends meet through various, touching ways.

Some say street singers are those lazy people who give up looking for better jobs. Aside from that, I have mixed feelings dealing with street singers every day each time I am in the roads for any kind of purposes.

Jakarta has many kinds of public transportation, most of which are buses. As far as I know, only few of them who are free from street singers. One is Damri bus connecting some areas to Soekarno-Hatta airport and the other is Transjakarta bus. Others become the lives of so many street singers. I say many because I barely know official data on their numbers.

street singers in metro mini as taken from

Other kinds of buses include Kopaja, Metromini, minivan buses, intercity buses, and Kobutri. Kopaja is most common buses usually painted in green and white. It passes major streets in the capital and is divided into many routes. Metromini is almost the same with Kopaja except it is mostly in red. Minivan buses, on the other hand, is a car used to carry a small number of passengers given their limited space. They travel in shorter distance but are able to move along tiny streets in housing complexes. Intercity buses are bigger and serve passengers from Jakarta to neighboring cities, like Tangerang and Bekasi. Usually, they are operated by Mayasari Bhakti. Two options are available depending on passengers’ wallets: non and air-conditioned buses. Koantas is almost similar with Kopaja and Metromini only that it is in yellow and purple.

minivan buses as taken from

Regardless what kinds of buses they are, street singers always have their own ways to earn money. Some are young men in their 20s. Innocent kids below five years are often seen in terminals singing to get some money. Or, elderly men bring along their little guitar to sing with false tones. May be, very few have slightly good voices to be heard. Never mind then.

Koantas as in

They work, or claim to do so. And passengers listen and if they have pity and some money they will give to them. Though they sometimes disturb me, I owe them big thanks. Their poor condition somehow leads me to be thankful to be my own me at the time being and let small things get out of my way. God loves me for I don’t have to work that hard to earn small amount of money. There’s a lot to be thankful for. Set aside all worries and never get trapped in dummy problems or inconvenience.

Damri bus as in



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