Friday, October 3, 2014

Angkot info for Bandung

You'll meet all kinds! A man wearing traditional
Sundanese clothing on the angkot
At the end of the post, I offer a gold nugget for students, locals, and travelers to Bandung, Jakarta, and Surabaya! (Skip to the bottom if you don't need tips about angkots, an easy travel option.)

Angkots are little vans that take us all over the city. They're designed for 10 passengers but we've been in angkots crammed with 16 adults. Good thing most people here are thin.

There are exceptions. The other day a chubby mama sat down partly on me. I couldn't move without being pushed into the doorway. So I sat still as her seat pad. I admit to happiness when someone got off so that she moved over onto her own hips and hind end.

We've been using an excellent online app to get around Bandung. It can be read in bahasa Indonesia or English to show us which angkots we need to get from one address to another. The moving maps are handy so that we know when to say, "Kiri" (or if we're whizzing along in the wrong lane and have to get off in a hurry, "Kiri-kiri!") Then the driver pulls over to the left (kiri) and we hop one step down through the open doorway onto the side of the street or into traffic. I've bumped my head a few times when the angkot is so crowded that I can't duck down far enough as I leave.

Angkots reflect their drivers. Some motors are in great condition.
Sometimes the interior and upholstery are kept in tip-top shape.
Other times ... not so much.
A few tips below, or scroll down immediately for the app:

  • You will owe the driver between Rp 2000 and 4000 (US currency: 17c-33c), depending on the length of your trip. 
  • Hop out, then pay through the passenger window. They'll let you know if it's not enough - and sometimes they'll ask for more than it's worth. After a while, you'll know what's enough. If it's more than Rp 4000, we act dumb and shrug.
  • Keep your wits about you and your goods - especially your mobile phones - stashed out of sight and reach. Pickpockets do good business on the angkots so don't flash your belongings.
  • Keep coin change on hand to tip into a hat when the violinists (guitarists, singers) who jump on and off finishing serenading you. You'll tip some because they're wonderful and others because you're happy they're leaving.
  • If you miss the angkot, don't worry. Another is just around the corner.
  • Before boarding, make sure you have the right angkot. Please read: 1) end points of the route (two locations are listed at the top of the windshield); and 2) the routing (i.e. belok = turn; lurus = straight; etc.) 
  • Be cautious about driver information. Sometimes they'll take you aboard for a half hour and drop you across the street from where you got in ... and point the other angkot that you should have caught in the first place. When that happens, we smile and pay anyway.
  • Angkots stop running about 6pm. You'll need a taxi home if you stay out after sunset. Exception: in the center of the city some drivers pick up extra money by working later.

My husband recently got an email from the developer of Bandung's angkot software. We were pleased to eat breakfast with him today. He lectures in a local university and has worked in computer science here and in Singapore. He's traveled to Europe and around Asia. Therefore, he's aware of how much visitors and locals appreciate information on how to get where they need to go. Check it out!

Waldemar wrote on TripAdviser as well as below:
Got to meet this morning with Pascal Alfadian, a programmer of the Angkot app for Bandung that helps us get around. Very pleasant and wide-ranging conversation, and my wife and I enjoyed chatting with him. I'm not precisely sure who all worked on this app, but it's terrific! Check out, where you can do a web-based trip search, or get access to their mobile apps.
KIRI helps people travelling by means of public transport. Therefore saving both money and the environment at the same time. Tell us where you are and where to go, and we will tell you the transports you need to take.