City bus in Surabaya


July 5, 2022

The city of Surabaya has a number of public transportation services in the form of regular city buses belonging to Perum DAMRI and several private bus companies, which operate in accordance with route permits from the Surabaya City Transportation Service. This service has been operating long before the Suroboyo Bus and Trans Semanggi Suroboyo services were present in this city. The city bus service was first organized by the Surabaya City Government on July 20, 1975, replacing the function of the tram as the main urban transportation at that time. Until 2017, the population of city buses with various kinds of chassis (frames) and bodies reached 274 units spread over twenty different routes. At the beginning of the decade of the 2010s, the population of city buses was decreasing along with the number of units that were no longer feasible and the emergence of various online transportation services in this city. Until 2022, there are 56 bus units from eleven otobus companies (PO) as operators that provide city bus services on two economy routes, two patas routes and three AC patas routes. These routes connect the Purabaya Terminal or Prohibition Terminal (Sidoarjo) in the south of the city with several public transportation infrastructures in the north of the city such as Bratang Terminal, Joyoboyo Terminal, Jembatan Merah Plaza (JMP), Ujung Baru (Tanjung Perak), or Tambak Osowilangon Terminal.

History and development

Tram feeder bus

The city bus service has been present in Surabaya as a feeder bus or tram passenger pick-up belonging to the Oost-Java Stoomtram Maatschappij (OJS) since 1889. Bus units are widely placed in several tram stops infrastructure such as Wonokromo Kota, Willemplein, and Ujung Stations. As the golden age of trams faded, the Surabaya City Government began to stop all tram operations in 1969. As a result, the tram feeder bus changed its status to become the main public transportation mode in the city.

The pioneer city bus of Perum DAMRI

After the cessation of tram operations, the Surabaya City Government began a project to establish and provide city bus services tied to fixed routes, in collaboration with the pioneering operator Perum DAMRI. This city bus service by Perum DAMRI was officially launched on July 20, 1975 with a total of twenty large buses produced by Robur. Along with increasing public interest, Perum DAMRI began to increase the number of buses by fifty units in 1976 and 92 units in 1978. Until 1982, city bus routes increased to nine and were served by 168 buses. The nine new city bus routes are: Joyoboyo–Red Bridge via Darmo Joyoboyo–Red Bridge via Diponegoro Joyoboyo–Cape Perak Kutisari–Demak Street Aloha–Red Bridge Kutisari–Menjangan Coral Jalan Demak–Karang Menjangan Aloha–Tugu Pahlawan via Darmo Aloha–Tugu Pahlawan via Diponegoro.

Double-decker bus

In 1981, Perum DAMRI began operating five double-decker bus routes using buses produced by Leyland Motors. A year later, Perum DAMRI added two new routes, along with the inauguration of the Patas class city bus service. By 1983, the number of double-decker bus lines had grown to ten different routes. After operating for eight years, all double-decker bus operations have been discontinued since 1989. One of the contributing factors is the infrastructure on arterial roads that is still not supported for operation and the affordability of double-decker bus transportation modes. All bus units belonging to double-decker buses are finally starting to be replaced with regular buses.


One form of improving city bus services from the Perum DAMRI operator in the early 2000s was the operation of the new bus route method (RMB). The basic difference between RMB buses and other buses is that there are various improvements and improvements to service quality, such as adding interior facilities, security systems, passenger capacity, departure schedules, and inter-departure distances.