WHEN I told my friend that I had not got a train ticket to go to Solo for Lebaran holiday, he suggested me to buy an economy class ticket at Senen station, Jakarta. I was dismayed by his suggestion. Doesn’t he know how horrendous the economy class condition is during the holiday season and most of all during Lebaran? Getting the ticket may not be a big problem, but getting into the train would be a huge problem. When it comes to transportation, the hectic of Lebaran holidays is unmatched. There have not been any changes or improvement whatsoever. This has been my concern for years.
Last year, I took a business class train i.e. Senja Utama from Solo to Jakarta. As a matter of fact, there is almost no difference between the business class and the economy class. The station was already overcrowded. It was completely chaotic. Maybe most people happen to have the same mindset that “In order to get a chance to be together with the family on Lebaran day, everything is worth sacrifying.”
When the train that I was waiting for finally arrived, I was surprised to see how packed it was . There were so many passengers inside. I got discouraged. I was wondering if I could really make it into that jam-packed train wagon and reach my seat. Although the fare increased unbelievably during the Lebaran season, the service has not changed a bit. It was as bad as it has always been. To make things worse, the station was also crammed with the ticket scalpers. I think what they have been doing all this time is to take advantage. The worse situation is, the more advantage they would take.
I had bought the ticket with a seat number but it was useless. Despite the fact that the train was already full with people, those supposedly would-be passengers were still trying hard to get into the train. They brought their luggages and other large boxes. It was appaling that no one inside the train was willing or making some efforts to open the doors of the train wagon although thousands of people were waiting outside.
Then came this man who looked like a soldier banging on the train’s door angrily. It did not take him very long to have the door opened for him. Someone opened it from inside the train. As it was expected, everybody else was trying to get in. What a terrifying scene to see how they were jostling against each other! They were fighting for the chance to enter the train. I saw one of them could not brought with him the luggage as they were left out of the train. A baby was forcefully slipped into the train through the window. Believe it or not but the window’s panes could actually be opened for as wide as 25 centimetres only. However, the baby seemed to be able to move her body like a cat while entering the tight pane.
For a moment I was hesitated whether to take that train or to get the refund for my ticket. But I decided to take the train for I realised later on that it was an inevitable situation. In such a hard situation anybody would take that only few chances ‘to survive’ regardless other people. Callous, aggresive, even brutal attitude and behaviour maybe deemed normal in such situation. One could no longer judge whether anybody’s actions are right or wrong.
I was fighting my way through the crowd to get into the train. I can not help but smelling their nasty sweats. After one hour, I finally reached my seat as it was really hard for me to find in which wagon my seat was. And, as you may have thought, somebody had taken my seat. When I asked him to move, he only moved his buttock a bit. He just kept silent and did not utter a single word. What he did was only giving me a bit more space where I could hardly put my butt on. And, it was not even his seat. He had taken my seat and what really infuriated me was the fact that he did not even seem to care or at least feel guilty about it. As if it had not been enough, this man who was travelling with his family had two other members of his family sitting with us at the same seat which was supposedly only for 2 people. So I shared the seat with 4 people, 3 adults and 1 child. In addition, a woman and her baby were down there lying close to my feet. Awkwardly, I sat and tried to sleep for more than 10 hours on that damned trip. There go my Lebaran trip!
In case you forget, that was actually a business class train. It would be hard to imagine how the condition in the economy class would look like at time like this. One wagon could actually only accomodate about 80 people yet I was convinced that at that time there were definitely more than 150 people in my wagon. I could not recall how many more who were sitting and lying and standing on the corridor.
As the train left Solo, two passengers were quarrelling as they found their tickets were having exactly the same seat numbers.
And now I change my mind who is to blame.**
- You may find relevant picture here.
- Kereta api
- Bangga Menjadi Orang Indonesia
- Tiket oh tiket
- Berakhirnya kegembiraan Lebaran