The Rp 12 billion (S$1.26 million) Manggarai bus terminal in South Jakarta, hailed by then governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo as a model for future terminals in the city, has instead proved to be a design failure less than a year after it opened.
The spaces intended for a library, convenience stores and other commercial purposes are deserted, while passengers complain of the taxing journey they have to make to traverse the terminal.
"It's pretty tiring to take the stairs but I don't have any choice," said Winda Oktaviani, 20, while catching her breath.
Winda, who travels from Depok on a commuter train, said she had to walk from Manggarai railway station to the Transjakarta bus stop to travel onward to her campus in East Jakarta.
She said, however, that although she passed through the area almost everyday, she never entered the new terminal building.
Although the Transjakarta shelter is adjacent to the terminal building, passengers can access the shelter from the station without passing through the building.
The multistory building is built with facilities including escalators, elevators, air conditioning, a prayer room, spaces for convenience stores, an ATM centre, a library and a food court.
However, the building is now largely empty save for the employees and a few vagrants sitting idly.
Many facilities are broken or unused.
The design also fails to achieve an integrated function, as it does not connect with the Manggarai railway station or the nearby Pasaraya shopping centre, only with the Transjakarta shelter.
"We are still waiting for [state-owned railway operator PT] KAI to connect the station to the existing crossing bridge," Waluyo, the operational team chief at the station said.
He said facilities intended to serve passengers, like the escalators, were largely unused. "The roof is leaking. We turn off the escalators as we are afraid somebody could be electrocuted during the rainy season," he said.
Waluyo said many facilities were useless, such as the air conditioners and electric fans. "What's the point of installing electric fans on the terrace?" he said, pointing at three fans facing the open space.
He added that some of the air conditioners were installed in spaces that were semi-open, making them more or less useless.
Waluyo explained that when the terminal was opened after renovation, three vendors rented space. "However, very few people went up to the third floor, so the vendors closed their businesses after two months," he said.
The terminal caters to five non-Transjakarta minibuses and minivans. A total of 212 vehicles and 1,146 passengers pass through the terminal daily.
National director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) Yoga Adiwi-narto said the Manggarai terminal failed to address the needs of passengers.
Yoga said public transportation within the city did not need big terminal buildings, as most passengers were daily commuters who took short trips.
"What passengers need is easy and comfortable access when switching between public transportation," he said, adding that Manggarai terminal failed to facilitate pedestrian access.