TransJakarta, Meet Your Father: TransMilenio

To most tourists or other visitors in Bogotá, TransMilenio might be just another city transportation system. But the daily commuters of Jakarta, might and even should be a little bit more curious about this city bus system, because it was the model for our own TransJakarta.

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During the 3 days of my stay in the capital city of Colombia, I went on a quest on the TransMilenio buses. Considering we only had maybe 1,5 day left for bus hopping, my friend and I weren’t too ambitious with our routes and we decided to just follow our hearts’ desire.

So after a few wrong bus stops, thanks to the lady at the ticket booth who gave us the wrong bus number, we finally got the hang of it. But instead of boring you with details that you can find on the Internet, I made a list of observations that I found interesting about TransMilenio.

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  1. Because it’s always so crammed in there, especially during peak hours, I’ve heard some people call TransMilenio as TransMilleno or TransMuyLleno. Lleno in spanish means full. Ha!
  2. All of the buses are shiny red, clean and in perfect condition. This is especially worth noting because the grey buses of TransJakarta are not all in the same condition. Some look new, some look trashy, some look like they’re about to burst into flames (one did, actually).
  3. The bus lanes are completely sterile from other vehicles and pedestrians. This is pretty much impossible to achieve with TransJakarta, because of course no one would want to be stuck in a congested lane when the next one is empty, even if it’s supposed to be a sterile lane.
  4. The bigger bus stops can receive at least four buses, some of them even  can hold several of two or three-piece buses at the same time, which means those buses don’t have to queue to get to their designated port. Amazing.
  5. Running on two lanes, these buses are so fast and efficient. Considering some buses are long, the drivers seem to have mad driving skills. They know where their designated port is (not every bus stops at every terminal), when to pull over and how to stop exactly at the port. Even more amazing.
  6. You can find at least one police officer at every bus stop. We even got to see some of them tackle a guy who seemed to be in dispute with his family. Two police officers threw him out of the platform and wrestled him on the ground for good 10 minutes before back-up came. Just another day in Bogotá.
  7. On weekends, some buses are not operating fully, or only stopping at certain terminals. So when planning your trip, make sure that your bus is operating that day.

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