Wednesday, January 26, 1994

Salatiga "dokar" coachmen fight for their existence

Text and Photo by Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

SALATIGA, Central Java (JP): As dusk falls, the dimly lit street of Margosari suddenly turns into a coachmen's haven for dokar, or horse-drawn carriages, after a long day of hard work competing with the growing number of minibus drivers in this small but well-reputed college town.

It is there on Margosari, a street which by night become a horse-drawn carriage terminal, that dokar coachmen take a break, feed their horses, have dinner together and vent their frustrations from the unpleasant experiences of the day. 

The presence of dozens of horses at the spot had earned the street a nickname: "Texas of Salatiga."

Dokar, derived from the Dutch word dokar, are traditional horse-drawn carriages still used in small towns and districts throughout Indonesia. 

Salatiga has maintained the existence of dokar as well as the unifying spirit of the coachmen, thanks to the struggle of the Association of Dokar Coachmen (Persatuan Sais Dokar, PSD). 

Photo Caption: Coachmen in Salatiga, Central Java, have organized to defend their threatened livelihood in the face of motorization, Pictured here (left to right) are Achmadi, chairman of the coachmen's association, Persatuan Sais Dokar, Wagimin, the treasurer and Sukardi, the secretary.  

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