The Jakarta Post
JAKARTA (JP): Unlike other Jakarta bus conductors who fail to provide their passengers with comfort and safety, 20-years-old Nuryana Suparman is a responsible conductor who places her customers first.
Many passengers who watch her in action on the air conditioned buses of the privately-run Masstrans executive bus company attest to her positive attitude.
“A woman with a good manner,” said one regular rider.
Nuryana is one of dozens of female conductors currently employed by PT Steady Safe, a land transport company which operates 18 Masstrans buses.
Every other day, Nuryana arrives at her office in Lebak-bulus, South Jakarta at 5 a.m. and works straight through to 10 p.m., making five round trips between Lebak bulus and Senen, Central Jakarta.
Her main duties include collecting passenger fares, managing the bus’s daily financial report and answering queries from riders, Westerners included, about Jakarta’s streets.
To ensure a more comfortable trip, the bus company prohibits smoking, a rarity in Jakarta where most of the male population smoker.
Nuryana and her colleagues must work hard to enforce this rule. Some passengers react angrily when they are reminded not to smoke.
At the end of the day, Nuryana deposits the money, usually some Rp 600.000, with a cashier and files the daily financial report before calling it a day.
“My daddy always takes me to the office early in the morning and picks me up later,” said Nuryana, the youngest of two daughters.
The native Jakarta claims she enjoys her job because it is “challenging” she wants to prove that not all bus staff are reckless and irresponsible.
Many busses operating in the capital those run by private companies, are already run-down and decrepit, prompting people to question whether they are still worth operating.
Nuryana, who was raised in a clerical family, said that her parents deserve credit for her sterling job performance. They taught her that maintaining strict self-discipline is the key to living a meaningful life.
During her school years, her grades were always among the best, and this has carried through to the present. “Nuryana is one of the best employers here,” beamed Datin Rashidah Nor, the vice president of PT Steady Safe.
Nuryana, who last years graduated from high school, sees her current job as a place to adopt sound work ethics and make friends.
On her days off, Nuryana sometimes visit the families of the drivers and security personnel, whom she considers part of her own.
Masstrans deploys three personnel on each bus; a driver, a security guard and a female conductor, “The security guard is important to prevent pickpockets and other criminals from entering the bus and making passengers feel insecure, “ Roshidah said.
Nuryana initially wanted to become a police officer or a flight attendant, “My mama, however, objected to my career choice. She wanted me to work as a clerk in an office instead.”
Masstrans is known for its good customers ultimately pay for this. Masstrans charges five times the standard bus fare of Rp 250.
“My customers usually wear ties,” Nuryana said bluntly, referring to white collar commuters who work in Jakarta but live in the suburbs, adding that Masstrans limits seating to 54.
Nuryana’s mothers, however, has repeatedly voiced concern that her baby daughter is too tired to work 16 hours every day.
“Mama worries that I spend most of my time in the street," said the conductor in her purple uniform and floral scarf.
Her mother finally agreed to her career choice when Nuryana convinced her that her fears were unfounded, and that the pay is quite attractive.
After all, Rashidah said that Masstrans is doing its part to better Jakarta’s shoddy public transportation system.
People like Nuryana indeed play a role in helping transform the public’s image of transport services in the capital.
Nevertheless, customers are sometimes annoyed when they are forced to wait for a long time at bus stops. Buses often run behind schedule because of traffic jams.
While also irritated by the daily traffic congestion, Nuryana, however, keeps her emotions in check and soothes passengers by telling them that the situation is “beyond our control.”