Nostalgic with Oplet, the Legendary Public Transportation in Jakarta

For lovers of the Betawi family soap opera 'Si Doel Anak Sekolahan', you must be familiar with this one vehicle. Oplet, a four-wheeled motorized vehicle, which was used as public transportation in its time. The Oplet is a small passenger car that has existed in Indonesia since the 1950s.

The emergence of Oplet itself was based on the transportation needs of colonial society in big cities like Batavia. Since the 1920s, the number of cars in Batavia has increased. Along with that, the needs of city residents for public transportation are also increasing. Some say the word Oplet comes from the name Chevrolet or Opel. There are also those who say that Oplet comes from the word 'auto let'.

Citzen then slowly began to leave animal-powered public transportation to machine-powered public transportation. Then, in 1935, began to appear a type of passenger car transportation called autolettes, Betawi people call it Oplet. This Oplet vehicle started operating in a number of big cities such as Batavia, Malang, and Surabaya.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Oplet became the most popular public transportation in Jakarta. The routes are Jatinegara Station, Matraman Raya, Salemba Raya, Senen, Pasar Baru, and Harmoni.

Oplet Specifications
Oplet is a public transportation vehicle derived from the Morris Traveler sedan, from England. Oplet consists of two parts, the front room is used by the driver or the driver and one passenger, the second room is reserved for the passengers. This vehicle has one door at the back which is used as a place to get in and out of passengers.

Then, at the front there is also a door, right and left. When it first left the factory, Oplet was only able to accommodate 4-5 passengers. However, thanks to a makeshift body using zinc and wood, Oplet is able to carry 10 passengers in it. Uniquely, almost all of Oplet's bodies are made of wood, including the windows. While the roof is made of zinc and a wooden frame.

Oplet's popularity in Jakarta was in the 1960-1970s, because large buses were rarely found in the capital. Oplet's operating license was officially terminated at the discretion of the Governor at that time under the leadership of the Governor of DKI Jakarta Tjikropranolo in 1980 because it was considered older, and replaced it with more modern transportation such as Mikrolet, Metromini, and Koperasi Wana Kalpika or often known as KWK.

The existence of Oplet can now only be found in a few museums and collectors. Such as the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah Transportation museum and also the Betawi Museum at the Setu Babakan Betawi Culture Center.


“Manusia tanpa cita-cita adalah mati. Cita-cita tanpa kerja adalah mimpi. Idaman yang menjadi andalan adalah kebahagiaan.”
- Ali Sadikin -
Gubernur DKI Jakarta 1966 - 1977
“Emang rejeki kagak kemane, tapi kalo lo gak kemane-mane mana mau dapet rejeki.”
- H. Benyamin Sueb -
Seniman Betawi