If you have watched an old soap opera of “Si Doel”, you must recognize how Oplet looks like. This small passenger vehicle was a modified British-manufactured sedan, including that made by the British Austin Motor Company, locally known as Austin. So, oplet was also called Ostin by some people. Some say the word oplet is originated from how Betawi people used to call European cars, Chevrolet or Opel. Others say the word is derived from ‘auto let’.
This vehicle was in operation in Jakarta since 1930, limited to serving routes in East Jakarta. But later, its operation was extended to other areas as well.
An oplet space was divided into two sections. The front seats were for the driver and one or two passengers. The back section consisted of two rows of seats facing each other that could fit up to 10 passengers. The back part’s floor was usually made of wood deck with a zinc roof and wooden frame. While the window was made of wood and stretched plastic that can be raised and lowered.
In the 1960s and 1970s, oplet was the most popular public vehicle in Jakarta. That was because at that time, medium and large buses were still rare. But in the 1980s, the Jakarta administration began to revoke oplet’s routes as replaced those with other larger vehicles such as Mikrolet, Metro Mini, and Kopaja buses.