Thursday, September 25, 2008
Street Photography: Waiting for The Angkot
Angkot (ANGkutan PerKOTaan), or urban/city transportation, is the main mode of transportation in the city of Bandung. It is a twelve to fourteen seater mini bus with a side-door entrance like the one shown in the above photograph. Instead of facing forward like in a "normal" bus, angkot passengers seat face to face on the side of the vehicle like in most commuter trains.
Angkot is color-coded to mark which route each vehicle is serving (in Bandung the color codes used are white, purple, green, blue, yellow, orange, brown, red, and pink).
Angkot is both a convenient necessity and a headache to Bandung's day to day reality. It's convenient because it is available nearly around the clock and everywhere, from the city center to the far corners of the city, and is relatively cheap. It also does not follow a set schedule like the city buses do, nor does it need a bus stop to get on or off. You can hail, stop, and get on and off it anywhere you want along its route. This way, it can literally take you door to door. This erratic behavior, however, is also the cause of a lot of headache to the other users of the roads. It causes traffic congestion and becomes a safety threat to other road users. Comfort, safety, and punctuality are nearly always an issue with the angkot.
Bandung definitely needs a more modern, comfortable, and well-regulated mode of public transportation, but I think it will be sometime before we can get rid of this necessary nuisance.
I took the above photograph on Jalan Wastukencana, Bandung, a few days ago.