Debunking the myths of economy class trains.
In the past, economy (third) class trains had a reputation for extreme overcrowding, hot/smelly carriages, petty crime and very poor on-time performance.
These days, everybody has a reserved seat, all trains are smoke-free (with many also air-conditioned), while safety and on-time performance are reportedly much improved.
Yet, the fares are still very cheap, only a few dollars per ticket.
While ticket prices will increase on 1 January 2015 when government subsidies cease (see above), they are still a bargain.
Unlike previous, some long-distance economy class trains can now be booked up to 90 days in advance, like business (second) and executive (first) class trains.
Here are some useful routes for tourists who are on a budget:
Economy class SRI TANJUNG is the only direct train from Banyuwangi (or Probolinggo, near Mt Bromo) to Yogyakarta.
Economy class SERAYU PAGI is the only direct train from Banjar (near Pangandaran) to Jakarta.
Economy class KRAKATAU EKSPRES offers a comfortable ride from near the Java-Sumatra ferry terminal at Merak to either Tanah Abang (West Jakarta) or Pasar Senen (Central Jakarta).
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