Monday, September 9, 2013

Surviving The CL Train Trips

Chaotic first day: Train passengers line up to pass through the turnstiles at Bogor Station on July 1. PT KAI introduced a new train fare of Rp 2,000 first five stations and Rp 500 for each additional three stations. The first day was chaotic at several train stations in Greater Jakarta. Antara/Firmansyah, link

With the regular office hours comes the responsibility to arrive at the office in the morning. Now, how do I do that? It will be very exhausting to reach my new office with the TransJakarta because Kalimalang is terribly congested. Being a tried and true trainbrain, I've been taking the Commuter Line,  the electric train service provided by PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek, heretofore will be called as CL.

The first CL train departs at 6:14 a.m. but I usually leave my home at around 6:30 a.m. in order to catch the 6:40 a.m. train to Jakarta from Klender Baru station. However, sometimes (well, most of the time, actually) the traffic to the station is awful and the 6:40 train zooming right before my eyes. The 7:07 a.m. train is already packed with commuters, and so will the 7:24 a.m. train and the 7:42 a.m. train. Anyway, just like every services in Indonesia, the train does not come on time. Be there on time to secure the perfect waiting spot and expect some tardiness.

When I say it's packed with commuters, it means that the soybeans in a tempeh have more space than commuters in the CL train. Trust me, you'll become well-acquainted with fellow passengers because you can hear their conversation (it's not that I intend on eavesdropping, but it's hard to not listen when they chat right next to your ears), smell their B.O and develop skinship with other passengers (is 'skinship' even a word? Blame it on the K-dramas). When it's very packed, you don't even have to hold on something, because you won't fall with so many body support around you anyway. The CL train is so intimate that a single guy friend says he's taking the train to look for a girlfriend. Good luck, single guy friend. Until this post was written, said friend was still single.

Commuter heaven: Passengers stand aboard an electric train at Juanda railway station in Central Jakarta on Tuesday. The State-Owned Enterprises Ministry has proposed that state railway operator, PT Kereta Api Indonesia, slash its fares for electric trains by 50 percent, to Rp 3,000 per ticket from the current Rp 6,000, to help people cushion the impact of the fuel and electricity rate hikes that are scheduled for April 1. (Antara/Andika Wahyu, link)

So what do I do?

Taking tips from my high school friend L, I take a detour to Bekasi then I stay on the train as it depart to Jakarta. It takes some time to finally reach Manggarai station, but at least I can get a seat, I don't have to struggle to squeeze myself into the train and I'll still be arriving on time at the office.

With my new office is located on Jl. HR Rasuna Said, I don't have to transfer to Tanah Abang like L, whose office is on Jl. Jend. Sudirman. From Manggarai station, I walk to Manggarai bus terminal, which is situated next to Pasaraya, and then hop on the Kopaja 66.

I usually reach office at 8:30 a.m. I'm the first to be there, but I have the key so I can enter and do the non-office stuffs (like blogging :P) before other employees come.

An ordinary Joe: US Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel get off from the commuter line train in his way to An-Nur Islamic boarding school (pesantren) in Bekasi, West Java on April 12, 2013. There was no "special treatment" given to the ambassador as Marciel bought the Rp 6,000 train ticket by himself and mingled with other passengers inside the carriage. (JP/Putera Satria, link)

The train home is available at 4:55 p.m., 5:17 p.m., 5:40 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. There are much later train schedules, but I don't write them down. If I have to go home after 7 p.m., I prefer taking TransJakarta.

Going home is a bit easier because if all is clear, it takes only 20 minutes from Manggarai to Klender Baru. Sometimes I can reach home before Maghrib. Now that I have such a regular work hour, I realize how nice it is to sip a cup of tea while listening to the adzan, have dinner at 7 p.m. and sneak into pajamas before 9 p.m.

How do you reach your office? How long is your commute?

P.S. When my uni friend Aneen came to Jakarta after doing weekend trip to Lampung, I took her to try CL to my office before she went to the Pasar Senen station. She's from Solo, where the pace of life is much slower than the capital. I warned her that the ride would be rough. At first she didn't believe me, but when we got to Bekasi, she got the whole picture. Her jaws dropped when she saw how people struggled to get on board. "I should have taken photos!" she said.


  1. Welcome to dunia perkomuteran kutip.

  2. Btw kalo naik kereta pagi yang sebelum 6.24 padatnya masih tolerable sih tif

  3. Wahahaha, mari kita kuasai jagad CL. kalo gue naik yg jam 6:24, gue bisa sampe kantor jam 7 dong. dua jam bengong di kantor, paling yang ada ngegebet uncle jerman di kantor sebelah #ehh