Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Public Transport in Palembang

Today was a fantastic day. I have been meaning to try out the public transportation here in Palembang for some time but never had a reason to. Until our car broke down today. YIPPEE!!!!

The driver was so worried and couldn't stop apologizing. He couldn't understand why I was suddenly so excited. I, of course, had the bright idea of catching an "Angkut" back.

The Angkuts are minivans and co-exist with normal buses. Well, the buses aren't exactly 'normal' here but I'll blog about that only when I've been in one. Anyway, the Angkuts service the smaller routes that the buses don't cover.

There isn't an 'Angkut Stop'. Just an area at this intersection where they are known to pick up passengers. Luckily I happened to have the babysitter with us today so she lead the way.

Here's our Angkut making the U-turn to pick us up:

We were the first passengers in there and the driver seemed to trawl the street looking for more. That wooden box you see in front of the orange door actually seats two passengers. I think they're partly there to keep the door open for the trip. There was some techno/bollywood style music blaring out of the speakers they had installed and the driver was bopping around in his seat as he drove.

He made the same loop several times until we were filled to capacity. By the time we got going, there were 15 adults, 1 toddler and 1 big suitcase on that minivan.

In the end, our trip cost us USD 0.20 per person and took us about 20 mins to get home. The actual travel time was only 5 mins, the rest of the time was waiting for the Angkut to fill up.

I wouldn't like to have catch this to work on a daily basis but it certainly made my day today. I didn't mind that it was hot and suffocating inside, or that the dust from the zooming traffic flew right in the windows up my nose. I was just having so much fun observing all the people and enjoying the bumpy ride home.


Bilbo said...

Many years ago I was in Panama for a week on business, and had the experience of seeing (but not riding in) fleets of garishly-decorated buses. Each one seemed to be privately-owned, and to go wherever the driver thought he could make money going. The buses were painted in all sorts of wild colors and designs, and festooned with streamers, flags, lights, and other things to attract customers. Since most of my overseas time was spent in Europe, and mainly in Germany, I was not used to seeing such bizarre transport options! Love your pictures of the "Angkut!"

Amanda said...

WOW! I never knew Panama had this type of decoration on their buses too. So far, I only know of the ones here and also the jeepneys in the Philippines.

I really must go try out the public buses. In addition to the decorations, they also have disco lights!!! I must try that out :)

Thanks for sharing!

Kellan said...

You really are such a good tour guide and show so many interesting things - thanks. Have a good day - Kellan

Nap Warden said...

I learn something new every time I come here!