MRT Jakarta urges passengers to observe train etiquette after photos of people eating in station, dangling on grab handles went viral

Jakartans sitting on the floor while eating at an MRT station. Photo: Twitter

Much has been made about Jakarta’s state-of-the-art new Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) trains taking the city’s public transportation into the future (read our review here), but a debate raged on social media over the weekend over whether or not Jakartans are ready for the MRT after several photos of passengers ignoring public transport etiquette went viral.

Photos of passengers dangling on the train’s grab handles, standing on seats, and eating on the floor at an MRT station while the service was still free to the public were among those to trigger outrage on social media recently.

“I honestly don’t know what to say anymore, [because] these [kinds] of behavior are completely disgusting,” one user tweeted, echoing the criticism on social media against misbehaving passengers.

“Hopefully after the MRT is no longer free there won’t be incidents like this and hopefully people will be more aware of the rules,” another user tweeted after complaining about numerous passengers not queueing to board the train and passengers blocking entrance to the train by standing right in front of the train doors.

But some came in the defense of the rule-breaking passengers and argued that they are not representative of Jakartans as a whole.

Regardless, MRT Jakarta did take notice of the viral photos and issued a public announcement on the matter ahead of President Joko Widodo’s inauguration of the new subway trains yesterday.

“PT MRT Jakarta regrets behaviors that have no place in stations and trains, like eating and drinking, standing on train seats, and dangling on grab handles, which were identified in our evaluation over the past two days (March 22-23),” point 3 in the announcement read, followed by a plea to all Jakartans to each do their own part in maintaining the MRT.

MRT Jakarta had previously posted a series of videos on train etiquette — all of which should, hopefully, be familiar to all of us — on their social media channels.

MRT rides are free until March 31 due to the city administration and city council not having finalized fares before its inauguration yesterday. An announcement on the fare is scheduled to be made today, with rides estimated to cost around IDR1,000 (US$0.07) per kilometer traveled.

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