Lenny Tristia Tambun
Jakarta’s battered Kopajas — those faded minibuses veering down the capital’s streets — are going high-tech.
The Jakarta provincial administration unveiled six new Kopaja minibuses on Thursday.
The modern iteration of the Kopaja is decades-apart from the crowded vehicles currently coughing up black exhaust in Jakarta traffic. The old Kopaja relied on an open door for ventilation. The new model has air conditioning. Musical street buskers used to provide on-board entertainment, signing songs for spare change. The new Kopajas come equipped with wireless internet.
The new models will also cost more than twice the price of a normal ride. And at Rp 5,000 ($0.53) a ride, the new Kopajas are a pricier ride than the city’s Trans-Jakarta bus system.
The Transportation Cooperation will introduce the new buses to two heavily trafficked routes — the P19 from Tanah Abang to Ragunan and the P20 from Lebak Bulus to Senen — in a bid to grab more professional passengers heading to and from work during the rush hour commute, Jakarta Kopaja chairman Nanang Basuki said.
“Usually, these workers can’t free themselves from their gadgets, especially mobile phones and laptops,” Nanang said. “They still want to use internet in the bus. So we provided free WiFi inside our new Kopaja buses.”
The new buses also feature plastic seats, hand-holds for standing customers and an electronic payment system, Nanang said. The Kopaja administration will also be able to monitor the buses’ speed and location via a GPS tracking system.
“If they’re not on their route, we can warn the driver to return to the designated route,” Nanang said. “We know that the Kopaja is synonymous with high speed and reckless. We want to change this image.”
The new buses will begin regular operations next week.
But at Rp 500 million a bus, it will be a long time before Jakarta’s ageing Kopajas become a thing of the past, Nanang said.