Blok M bus terminal by night
This used to be my playground. This crowded, hectic bus terminal in Blok M, Jakarta. I used to go here every saturday after school… in the late seventies and eighties. And while a number of things have changed since then (like that flyover that is being built), quite a few have remained the same.
This used to be my playground. Hopping – no, jumping – in and out of buses, when they were still moving. In between the thick black smoke of diesel from the exhausts. In between the thin gaps between the buses. Yes, when they were still moving.
No I’m not used to take this green Mayasari Bhakti bus. My route was Grogol – Blok M, ran by PPD (an abbreviation for Pengangkutan Penumpang Djakarta – Jakarta’s passengers transport), route number 20. PPD, which started its service in 1954, was cut off its major routes early 2011 by the Governor of Jakarta and was substituted by the Trans Jakarta busway.
Nor am I used to taking this bright red Metro Mini. This particular one, route number 71, is servicing Blok M to Bintaro route. They are used to reach non-protocol roads where the big buses may occupy the whole road. Metro Minis are often identical with pickpockets. They are also present whenever there is a big demonstration here in the capital, for they are used by the demonstrators as the ultimate demonstrators’ transport.
But I used to hear the bus driver helpers shouting their routes, trying to get the buses filled up as many as possible, as quick as possible, so they could leave the terminal as soon as possible.
And let’s not forget the support service of this terminal: street vendors with a variety of fast moving merchandises, from tissues, fried bananas, meat balls and noodles and cold drinks and the sweet and colorful es campur.
Yes, this used to be my playground. Not a childhood dream, just a playground. Thank you for reading, and feel free to leave any comments, I love reading them.
[all images were taken from a three frames 2 stops bracketing, handheld. The shutter-speeds shown are from the 0 stop.]