The economy class train is always an opera to me. Many things to see here. And this is a characteristic of Indonesian trains, I think. I used to go from Cicalengka Town to Bandung City, and vice versa. From Cicalengka Station, I took the economy train called KRD Ekonomi.
At the time, the ticket costs 1,000 IDR from Cicalengka to Ciroyom Station (a small station after Bandung Station), or 1,500 IDR from Cicalengka to Padalarang. It’s very cheap, but the train will stops in every small stations.
Inside the train, many passengers had taken their own seat at Haurpugur Station (a small station before Cicalengka). So I had to stand up that day. Fortunately, there was always kind person who offered me his seat. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman. So I could sit, thanks to that universal gentlemanliness.
Oh, I forgot to mention two types of seat in economy class. First type sticks along the wall of the train. Thus the passengers turn the back on the window. By sitting this way, you can see all kind of passenger’s activities: reading, chatting, watching other people like I always do.
See the merchants selling beverage (mineral waters, coffees, soft drinks), food (fruits, tahu sumedang, wingko, nuts, salted egg), accessories, newspapers, books, toys, tissues, SIM card, et cetera. Meanwhile, the beggars were begging for money. He would pray for you after received money from you.
Second type, the seat that is face to face like in the executive class train. Here you still see, hear and smell the noisy merchants. But at least you can enjoy the panorama outside.
I always noticed, there is green rice field on the side way to Bandung. In harvest time, the field becomes beautifully gold. Also the farmers harvesting. The hill, the mountain as a background. And the air! Just open the window and inhale deeply. So refreshing.
After more than an hour, I finally arrived at Bandung Station. Welcome, metropolitan life. In this fashion city, I used to visit Gramedia bookstore, French Cultural Centre (CCF), Tobucil, Sundanese Study Centre (PSS), Palasari, or Dewi Sartika book fair. Then go home at midday.
Once, I visited PSS and Palasari until 14.30. So I had to chase the 15.30 train. I didn’t take economy class anymore. I went by “patas” train.
Just like its name, “patas” (cepat-terbatas) is fast and limited. It takes less than an hour to reach Bandung from Cicalengka, and vice versa. The ticket is more expensive. But surely it’s more comfortable.
There is no such merchant or beggar in patas train. Only “Reska” (Restoran Kereta Api): two men who officially sell bread, soft drink, and instant noodles.
Since 2009, there has been a new kind of patas train: Baraya Geulis and Rencang Geulis (in Sundanese, baraya means family, rencang means friend, geulis means beautiful). They stop at four stations only: Cicalengka, Rancaekek, Bandung, and Padalarang.
The ticket for Bandung-Cicalengka costs 5,000 IDR, and for Cicalengka-Padalarang 8,000 IDR. The seat sticks along the wall and there are hooks on the ceiling for standing passengers.
At Rancaekek Station, a lot of passengers descended. How releasing. Since then, I could sleep whenever I wanted and got tired. While the train kept on working hard. Everyday. Almost non stop. Regardless its tiredness.
- Photo by Rie Yanti