Jakarta's MRT guidelines video baffles passengers

Jakartans enjoy a trial run of the first phase of the Jakarta MRT, which connects Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta, on Tuesday, March 12.
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

Even as Jakartans are excited about the new MRT and enrolling to take part in a trial run, the mass rapid transit operator, PT MRT Jakarta, has been publishing the rules and manners for train riders on its social media account.

PT MRT Jakarta posted videos to its Instagram account on Friday, aiming to educate passengers about public transportation etiquette. The first video, entitled "Guide to five behaviours on public transportation", shows passengers behaving in different ways. There are ones who talk loudly with their friends, eat snacks eagerly, peek at others' cell phone screens, snore and put makeup on. Those are said to be examples of disturbing behaviour. The video contrasts these by depicting the behaviour of "good" passengers.

While talking loudly, eating and peeking are undoubtedly disturbing, snoring and putting on makeup could still be acceptable. Sleeping with the head bent down instead of up and wearing masks might eliminate snoring on the train. However, isn't snoring uncontrollable?

Meanwhile, the woman who was putting on makeup was shown being extra demonstrative, shaking her makeup brush toward a passenger beside her. We all may wonder: Does anyone do that on board a train? Seems unlikely. Although we may see women discreetly putting on lipstick and face powder on public transportation, that may go unnoticed and be considered acceptable. Besides, we should worry about germs and bacteria that may contaminate cosmetics that are opened in such a public space as a train.

At the time of writing, the video has gained more than 300 comments, including some that criticise the rules that scold snoring and making up. A number of comments recommended that the MRT operator should focus on the most basic commuter line etiquette, such as waiting until all exiting passengers leave the train before boarding, giving seats to the elderly, pregnant women and those with small children and not littering.

Kamal Muhamad Kamaluddin, acting head of corporate strategy and planning at Jakarta MRT, told The Jakarta Post that the video was made according to the benchmarks used by urban subway systems in other countries.

"We will keep updating our video and its contents continuously. The one already posted is an appeal [for the public to be considerate of other passengers]," said Kamal.

Regarding the backlash, Kamal said that PT MRT Jakarta would come up with more updated videos that are more acceptable to the public.