Journal Province: West Java Regency/City: Bogor Subdistrict: Central Bogor

No Photography of E-ticketing Allowed

(Source: MI/Ramdani/ip,
Written by Manshur Zikri

One day, my college friend told me, “I was hit by an officer because I recorded the eviction of the traders in a train station!” he complained. On another occasion, another friend, Ageung, told me that she was warned by the security officer in the train because she recorded the atmosphere of the passengers inside the KRL (kereta rel listrik – electric train). The same thing happened to me when I tried to take pictures in University of Indonesia Station. It seemed that there was a kind of fear for the security officers, or maybe PT KAI (the state railway operator) if the things about them were captured by the camera. And, unfortunately, it happened to me once again on June 10, 2013 although the recording I had planned had only been a photograph.

Bogor Station

Bogor Station

Monday morning was a really busy time in Bogor Station. The crowd raced against time so that they did not miss the first train. Before entering June 2013, this activity had been considered a common routine. However, when the banners that announced about the usage of electronic ticket started to be displayed on the station fences, June became the beginning of the change of the rhythm and mobilization pattern of the user of KRL service.

E-ticketing banner (Source: Wisnu Wardana,

E-ticketing banner (Source: Wisnu Wardana,

The phenomenon of the e-ticketing of Jabodetabek KRL Commuter for me had been a problem. I sensed that people, particularly the users of KRL service were unprepared to deal with the new policy of PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek (KJC). There was some evidence of that. On June 1, 2013, the day when the e-ticketing was put into effect, when I wanted to get out of Bogor Station – that day, the main entry and exit gate of Bogor Station had been modified and moved to a new place, which was not in the direction of Anyar Market and Ade Irma Suryani Park (Hat Park) anymore, but directly on the Kapten Muslihat Street – there was a little commotion at the entrance of the station. The passengers who wanted to get out of the station shouted simultaneously “Huuu!” because the officers held and asked them to make a queue so they could press the e-ticketing card to the machines that had been placed at that entry-exit gate. That blaming yell was understandable because the activity slowed the movement of passengers who were maybe in a hurry to get to their destination on time. Dozens of passengers finally broke through the barrier of the e-ticketing card reader machine, some of them jumped over it, some of them went under it. The point was, the presence of the machine and e-ticketing card were useless.

The long e-ticketing queue in Depok Baru Station (Source: Nurfahmi Budi Prasetyo,

The long e-ticketing queue in Depok Baru Station (Source: Nurfahmi Budi Prasetyo,

Similar to that day, a week after that, I saw the same thing. The crowd queued in front of the ticket box, and then they had to queue again in front of the machine, waiting patiently for their turn to press the card. The same complaints were still heard although they were not collective. Since I was disturbed by that event, my hand was itching to take out my camera to take pictures of the scene of the KRL service users who still had to learn how to place the e-ticketing card right so the barrier could be opened.

However, I remembered the past experiences: PT KAI had been afraid of the ‘misuse’ of camera and documentation. Based on a good intention I approached an officer to ask permission to take one or two pictures with the college assignment as an excuse. This is the conversation between an officer and me:

“My lecturer gave me an assignment to write an essay about the e-ticketing, Sir. I can take pictures, right?” I said innocently. The answer, like I had guessed before, “Where is the permission letter?”

“I don’t have it, Sir,” I explained. “Because it’s just a regular assignment, not research. Besides, I just want to take a few pictures, Sir. Just here, because I want to take pictures of the passengers when using that e-ticketing machine, just for the documentary purpose, Sir,” I tried to persuade him.

“Still can’t. You have to have a permit first!”

“Is there a prohibition to take a picture in a station, Sir?”

“It’s not like that, Mas, we don’t prohibit you,” explained the officer. “But this is the procedure, so it will be clear. What if anything happens to me? If the superior was angry, I would be the one to be blamed.”

“Well, nothing’s going to happen, Sir. This is just for a college assignment!” I still tried to persuade him.

“If my boss knew, and I was reprimanded and fired, do you want to take the responsibility for that?”

“Then, how do I get the permission, Sir?”

“Please go to the information section and ask about it there, or you can directly meet the Head of the Station!”

Finally, I followed his advice. I went to the information section to ask permission. I did this so I could take pictures freely without reprimand.

“Well, that needs a permission letter, you can arrange it at Kota Station,” said an officer in the office of information.

Hearing that, I instantly felt hopeless. Just for taking pictures for a moment, I had to go to Kota Station to get the permit. Of course, it was not an efficient way. Finally, I approached the security officer I had met before and said that I did not get the permission from the information office. I tried to persuade him one more time so I could, at least, take one picture.

“No, you can’t! This is the rule,” he said.

“Is that the rule, Sir?” I ask doubtfully. Once again his answer was only: “Well, that’s the procedure, Mas! Yesterday there was also a college student, but he brought the letter, so we allowed him.”

“But, I mean, this is a public space, Sir!” I tried to counter his argument a little emotionally. “Anywhere in this world, a train station is a public space. How come people can’t take pictures? Besides, I ask permission first, Sir. But why should I get the letter and have to go to Kota first? It’s so complicated, Sir!”

“Well, if you insist, just go to the Head of Station, so you’ll believe!” he said. And I knew, following that advice would be useless too. In the end, the permission letter was still certainly requested.

The usage of e-ticketing machine in Tanah Abang Station (Source: Hyo-Heru Haryono,

The usage of e-ticketing machine in Tanah Abang Station (Source: Hyo-Heru Haryono,

Was I too naïve because I asked permission first before taking the pictures when I actually could take them while buying the ticket and walking towards the train (as a young officer had whispered to me: “Why don’t you take pictures like usual, while buying the ticket?” He said when he had taken me to the information office)? Was it because I made the excuse about the college assignment?

I did it not without a motive. Besides because I did not want to be reprimanded by the officer for taking pictures carelessly, I also wanted to make sure if there was a strict written rule from PT KAI about the use of the camera for the public who wanted to take a picture or make a video inside the train station. If there was one, I wanted to accept it directly from PT KAI. Because, based on my observation this far, there was no sign of prohibition to take a picture, unlike the non-smoking signs.

However, apparently that day the authorized official was not there so I did not have the chance to ask further. Besides, since I had already become his attention I could not open my camera and take a picture. I could only take pictures freely when I was inside the train, in the middle of the crowd of passengers, where there was only a slight possibility for the officer to approach me. And it was not pictures about the event of the passengers using the e-ticketing machine, but only the crowded atmosphere of the passengers waiting for the Commuter Line to arrive in Jakarta.


Back to the e-ticketing problem, apparently it was not only me who felt it. Some friends of mine at the Faculty of Social and Political Science, University of Indonesia, had similar opinions. Here were the responses of some of my friends who used KRL daily about the e-ticketing program:

How is your response about the e-ticketing?

Olla, KRL user from Tebet Station to UI Station


I think the e-ticketing is troublesome. Especially in Tebet Station, it really changes the system. It makes the situation more complicated because there is only a line now for entry and exit, makes it more crowded. It’s not too efficient because there can be a misuse too. People can take the card home without getting caught. And, they can’t change the card easily, because, apparently the Economy Class (KRL) comes first…many things, complicated and can’t be changed. It’s troublesome.

Irfan, KRL user from Tebet Station to UI Station


E-ticketing is the same as conventional ticket. The difference is, we need to be checked at the beginning. When we enter the train itself, we don’t need to be checked anymore. And then we are checked again after we get off the train. And it’s only to enter… The inspection of conventional ticket is done on the train.

Ayu, KRL user from Bekasi Station to Manggarai Station and to Depok Station

FOTO 7_ayu

I think it’s not efficient because based on my experience, I can only buy a ticket to Jakarta Kota (Station) but I can go straight to Depok (Station) without having to buy the stored-value ticket because we won’t be checked anymore at the exit of UI Station. We can’t do that with the conventional ticket. There is writing on the stored-valued ticket from Bekasi (Station) to Depok (Station), Bekasi-Depok. Meanwhile, the e-ticketing cards are all the same. We can’t distinguish the ticket to Depok from the ticket to Jakarta Kota.

Ridha, KRL user from Tangerang Station to Pasar Minggu Baru Station and to UI Station

FOTO 8_ridha

Actually, we may be confused at first. But I’ve used this kind of ticket when I was in Singapore. There, it worked well, maybe because everything was well-organized. Here, a little bit difficult because it has no significant effect because, you can enter from any line, it doesn’t have to be from the e-ticketing line, you can enter from the side line.

Taufan, KRL user from Bogor Station to Jakarta Station

FOTO 9_taufan

It hasn’t been efficient yet. First, the checking machine. The technology to check the destination is unclear. Second, the way to pay for it. It takes a long time. When you pay, you have to wait for the receipt. It takes time because everybody is in a hurry. So in the end they don’t buy the ticket and it’s a crime.

Akbar, KRL user from Bogor Station to Depok Station

FOTO 10_akbar

I think the application of the e-ticketing is still too early, many people haven’t been ready yet. So, instead of efficient, it becomes inefficient at all. The inefficiency is, well, first, the people haven’t understood yet how to use it. When they want to go in, they are confused how to do the tapping and it makes a long queue. Especially, at the exit. For example, we insert it right, but apparently it gets stuck. And there are some comments such as, ‘How to insert this?’, because on the card itself there is no explanation about how to insert it.

Fiana, KRL user from Cikini Station to UI Station

FOTO 11_fiana

It’s useful! I lost the paper one sometimes. Since the e-ticketing is a hard material, people are aware that they hold the train ticket. Personally, the benefit is, well, it’s tidier. It feels sophisticated, it’s not primitive like the paper one which should be punched by the conductor.

Endah, KRL user from Manggarai Station to UI Station

FOTO 12_endah

E-ticketing… troublesome. People jam the area when they want to get in and out because there are only two machines. The number of machines is limited. Sometimes there are cards that can’t be read.

Adit, KRL user from Manggarai Station to UI Station

FOTO 13_adit

I’ve used it, the tapped one, it didn’t go very well. In the end, I was asked to go through the side line, the usual line. In my opinion, the e-ticketing is just a formality, well, to keep up with the advance in technology. But actually, well, it’s the same.

Rahis, KRL user from Cawang Station to UI Station

FOTO 14_rahis

The e-ticketing makes it easier, well, just press, done. But, it’s the same, actually, other than that one. It takes a while too to wait for the process to be done, same as before with the paper one.

Ayas, KRL user from Tanah Abang Station to Depok Station

FOTO 15_ayas

Actually, it’s important for Indonesia to have the e-ticketing. I mean, seeing the developed countries, we should follow their procedures. But, the constraint here is we haven’t been ready for it yet. Not everyone uses it. And apparently, there is a receipt, and it has to be given. Mostly, in the stations I’ve visited, they only gave me the card, without the receipt.   

Dara, KRL user from Bogor Station to Jakarta Kota Station

FOTO 16_dara

The e-ticketing is good but complicated. I mean, for example, I am given the ticket from Tebet (Station), but because I go to UI (Station) I only give it back to the officer. There hasn’t been any machine there yet. I think, why do you have to use a card if you can’t insert it? That’s complicated, the conventional ticket is better.

What is the impression you get about the basic and essential difference between e-ticketing and conventional ticket?

Olla, KRL user from Tebet Station to UI Station

It’s only easy because of the tapping, but since there is no machine in UI (Station), in the end it’s the same, we have to give the card to the officer. More complicated actually.

Irfan, KRL user from Tebet Station to UI Station

The e-ticketing is more useful, but the conventional ticket is more effective because we hold the conventional ticket from the beginning and through the journey. It’s more effective to avoid the unwanted people.

Ridha, KRL user from Tangerang Station to Pasar Minggu Baru Station and to UI Station

The difference is, it’s just cooler… In Singapore maybe it’s like the e-toll. So everybody, the service user, can use it. There is a credit in it, and can be used continuously. Now, it can only be used once, just like the conventional ticket.

Izma, KRL user from Kota Station to Depok Station

FOTO 17_izma

Actually, e-ticketing is good. The price is cheaper and fairer because it’s counted for one station. So, it doesn’t burden the passenger because it depends on the route they want to take. The flaw is, the socialization has to be continued, so the people will get used to using it.

Rasyel, KRL user from Bogor Station to UI Station

FOTO 18_rasyel

The impression I get was I was confused at the beginning, because when I wanted to enter the gate, the officer said that I had to put the e-ticketing under it. When I did it, apparently the barrier couldn’t work. I couldn’t get in. The officer said, “Just wait a little longer, Mbak!” Well, I almost missed the train because of that only.

Yuriko, KRL user from Bogor Station to UI Station

FOTO 19_yuriko

The e-ticketing only delays the movement. When I used the conventional ticket, it was faster than e-ticketing. And the queue is very long just for the card, unlike the conventional ticket.

Endah, KRL user from Manggarai Station to UI Station

The difference is not too obvious, just when getting in and out because initially, it’s for the progressive price for every station, right? But since it hasn’t been put into effect, then it’s the same as the conventional ticket until now.

Ayas, KRL user from Tanah Abang Station to Depok Station

The difference is there is no garbage. The conventional one has to be punched, right? There will be garbage. But this one is not. Only that, I think.

What is your opinion about the effect of e-ticketing for the atmosphere in the train station?

Taufan, KRL user from Bogor Station to Jakarta Station

It’s annoying. Here, in Bogor Station, there are two entrances, the main entrance and back entrance. If you want to get in through the main entrance, the public transportation has to turn first. While here (back entrance), there is a police station and shopping place. It means traffic jam. Let’s say, if you want to get in, it will be very difficult.

Rasyel, KRL user from Bogor Station to UI Station

Actually, the station looks tidier and more controlled. However, yeah, that e-ticketing is quite annoying, because it makes a crowd. It becomes crowded. 

Fiana, KRL user from Cikini Station to UI Station

Inside the station, it causes a problem because people haven’t understood yet. So when they want to get in, it results in a queue. 

Ayas, KRL user from Tanah Abang Station to Depok Station

For some stations, for example, I go from Cawang (Station) to UI (Station), there hasn’t been any e-ticketing machine in UI, right? So people can get out easily.

Ika, KRL user from Tebet Station to UI Station

FOTO 20_ika

From the UI (Station) to Tebet (Station) it hasn’t been useful yet because in UI we get the conventional ticket and in Tebet the ticket is e-ticketing. So, it’s incoherent.

Irda, KRL user from Tebet Station to UI Station

FOTO 21_irda

Not all stations use e-ticketing yet. There are even some stations where you have to give the receipt too, not only the card which looks like an ATM card. If the name is e-ticketing then you shouldn’t give the receipt, right? And also, in some stations, like Tebet Station, there are five machines but only one is used. And that, when there are many people, makes the accumulation of people.


Speaking about public spaces and rights, it was obvious that the train station was not a public space, but a space for public. PT KAI (Persero – Limited) was the owner of the train station which we had been using all this time as a place to wait for the arrival of KRL public transportation.

I once asked Ugeng T. Moetidjo, a researcher at Forum Lenteng. According to him, the public facility such as a train station was not a public space, but a “state space”. In other words, the state or the administrator had a right to arrange certain policy on the space. The concept of “space for public” was different from “public space”, such as city park or coffee shop. Juergen Habermas specified those spaces based on the space characteristic which was democratic (could be accessed by anyone). The train station, basically, could not be accessed by people who did not buy the ticket (paying to get in).

However, what became my main confusion – and also my disapproval – was the regulation about the prohibition to take a picture. It was not widely socialized to the community. All this time, I had not been seeing that regulation, either in the station area or inside the train, unlike the restriction not to sit on the train roof, not to stand in front of the door, not to jump over the railway outside the allowed area, or not to smoke in certain areas.

This, related to my experience, would become the constraint someday when there was a certain event which had to be captured and shared with the community as a part of public information. The flow of information could not work well and balanced.

(Source: MI/Ramdani/ip,

(Source: MI/Ramdani/ip,

For example, the presence of that e-ticketing. I saw two journalists from MNC TV reporting the program development of e-ticketing. The station security officer said that they had already asked permission before reporting. Of course, a professional work like that was definitely arranged by the professional ethics and responsibilities and was supported by the institution or agency of the journalist. However, this thing became complicated for ordinary people. There was no official institution that supported the people to do the same thing so the chance for them to capture an event to become a frame of information was limited. In other words, the flow of information coming from the citizen’s perspective (citizen journalism) was inhibited by the regulation, which in reality was not socialized well. If the socialization about public order worked well, the people would be ready with any possibilities, including the constraints I experienced.

The e-ticketing program, just like the users have said earlier, so far is still a problem, either from the readiness of facility and infrastructure aspect or from the readiness of the community about that computerized technology. In my opinion, this problem has to be widely shared to invite the public responses about the policy issued by PT KAI in order to achieve the benefit for all parties. Photography is the most effective medium to share this information. The restriction of the use of camera policy for the ordinary citizen, or the arrangement from PT KAI about that regulation, which is unclear, adds the problem which cuts the people’s rights. This becomes homework for us all.


KRL, oh KRL! PT KAI has often made unsatisfactory programs. They are coupled with the pretty confusing public order regulation. If KRL is a facility for public, to serve public, there should have not been any excuses to be afraid of accepting critique from the public, let alone the fear of the activity of taking pictures from the sympathetic citizens.

About the author


Manshur Zikri

He is graduates of the Department of Criminology, Faculty of Social and Political Science, University of Indonesia. A member of Forum Lenteng, he is an executive of akumassa Program. He is also active as a film critic at the Journal Footage, and as Curator in ARKIPEL - Jakarta International Documentary & Experimental Film Festival.

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