Back to the past with Becak

This three wheeler shown in the picture is one of the oldest transportation means in , not only Bogor but Indonesia . It is called Becak . Many foreigners still call them as Rickshaw but actually both are different . If in the rickshaw the driver drags the cart , the position of the driver is in front of the passengers , in becak the driver hauls the cart by riding it .

People in Indonesia have known this type of transportation along time ago , back to early of 20th century . There are many versions about when  becak entered Indonesia but many believe that becak was brought to Indonesia by Japanese when they occupied this country in 1942-1945 .

Although they are no longer Bogorian main transportation mean , they have not been vanished yet . We still can find many becaks in Bogor because it's not , yet , prohibited like in Jakarta .

However the Bogor government has limited the operation area that can be covered by this three wheeler . They are prohibited to enter the main streets like Pajajaran street , Sudirman street and some others . However you can find it in the intersection between the main streets and arterial roads or housing complex streets .

Becak still exists in Bogor due to two reasons i.e

a) angkot trajectories don't include housing complexes , so it will only bring passengers until the foreground of the complexes

b) it offers enough space to transport a passenger and their luggage . That is why many becak stay near 'Pasar Anyar' (one of the market in Bogor) because usually people who comes to this market will need a transportation to carry their luggage

And.. the b) was the reason for me taking a becak last month with my wife . It'd been quite a long time since I used becak . It was back in 2004 when we got an accident due to brake failure . I still remembered eventually the becak hit the car in front of us and tumbled . Luckily , my sister and I got many bruises but not serious ones. However at that time , the urge to experience again the feeling of old days , I convinced my wife to take a becak to bring us . She was quite reluctant about the idea but finally agreed .

It was quite a trip . With luggages on my lap and both of us in the cart , becak was 'felt' to be smaller (we forgot that we gained a bit more weight recently) . Bogor is a town on the foot of mount Salak and the contour of the roads have many ups and downs . Moreover , the becak had to compete with cars , motorcycles during the trip . What made it more frightening , the driver was already quite old . There was a worry that he might not have enough strength to control his becak .

My wife looked nervous all the time during the trip , especially when we had to go across the railway crossings full of other vehicles . It looked like riding a roller coaster .. scary but exciting and funny at the same time . Fortunately , this time with no accident and we arrived home safely . It was quite a nice experience and I was taken back to my childhood for few moments .

Inevitable , it is what my mind said about becak existence in Bogor . Becak may , someday disappear from Bogor . It is too slow to be up with the speed required by modern people and life . It is something that can not be avoided considering it was designed almost a century ago . But .. probably before its time comes , I can try few more rides with this traditional vehicle ... Do you want to join me ? 
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About Anton Ardyanto

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  1. Interesting. We also have a similar one 'round here but the driver is in the side not at the back.

    1. how do you call it ? can you share me the photo ..? really would like to know