Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – Weeks ahead of the presidential election in April, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo surprised passengers of Jakarta's commuter line (KRL) by boarding one of its trains during rush hour on Wednesday afternoon.
Photos and videos of the President have gone viral on social media, showing him wearing his signature white shirt as he stood among a crowd of the commuters, smiling and taking photos with them.
Bey Machmudin, head of the presidential protocol and press bureau, said Jokowi had made the impromptu decision to take a train to return to Bogor Palace, West Java, instead of his usual presidential car.
The President departed from Tanjung Barat Station in South Jakarta after concluding his official schedule in the area, where he was promoting his administration's social welfare programs, Bey said.
"[Jokowi] has been wanting to use the train for a long time," Bey told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
In the pictures and videos posted by Twitter users on the social media platform, Jokowi was seen interacting with his fellow passengers, even listening to some who asked for more trains.
Presiden @jokowi, Pemimpin yg dilahirkan dari Rahim Rakyat, akan tetap selalu merakyat #JokowiNaikKLR #01IndonesiaMaju #kerjakerjakerja pic.twitter.com/iVEIwbIl6g – Pramono Anung (IG: @pramonoanungw) (@pramonoanung) March 6, 2019
Netizens went into a frenzy over the fact that the President had boarded a train during after-office rush hour when many residents of Greater Jakarta who live in its suburbs or satellite cities crowd the commuter line to return home.
Some netizens even pointed out that Jokowi was truly the man of the people.
Twitter user @FujiatiRahmi said in her post: "We are happy that Pak Jokowi boarded the KRL with the people this afternoon. A populist and humble leader." pic.twitter.com/NAa4uSAbUT – DENID (@D3NID) March 6, 2019
Another Twitter user, @fajarperdana87, pointed out in his tweet that Jokowi might have decided to use the train because of traffic congestion.
"Pak @jokowi in KRL @commuterline. Is it because the toll road is jammed? Pak @jokowi di KRL @CommuterLine. Karena tol macet ya pak? pic.twitter.com/vEux5D2idL – Fajar Perdana H. (@fajarperdana87) March 6, 2019 (dmr)