Getting around in Jakarta is easy in spite of the notoriety of the traffic in this bustling capital city. Indeed, traffic jams remain a feature in certain central business areas, particularly during rush hours when much better time could be spent on enjoying some sightseeing and attractions. But that shouldn’t thwart any of your plans in going out and exploring the many great things the Jakarta has to offer.
Taxis remain the most preferable mode of transport within the city. Other options include motorcycle taxis, locally referred to as ‘ojek’. Jakarta’s bus rapid transits are also part of an on-going effort to improve traffic in the city. Here’s a recap of the available choices of getting around in Jakarta.
Jakarta by Taxi
Metered taxis have always been the easiest and most convenient way of getting around in Jakarta. There are a total of 40 different companies operating a total of 23,000 units in the city, and several of which provide executive services. The most reputable nationwide taxi company is Blue Bird, known for their frequently updated fleet with the newest sedans and limos, and a good customer service track record. However, Blue Bird usually has a tad higher rate compared to its competitors.
There are also several executive taxi services, such as Silver Bird, which is operated by Blue Bird. Silver Bird taxis can easily be found at most five-star hotels around the city as well as at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, and you can call for one as well. Consider these as limo cabs, which come in choices of characteristic black and stylish Mercedes Benz C200s, Toyota Vellfires, Alphards and Camrys, all which offer spacious interiors, ample legroom space, electronic payment systems and well-trained English speaking drivers. You can also ask to charter Silver Bird for excursions.
Blue Bird (bright blue): +62 (0)21 791 712 34
Silver Bird (black): +62 (0)21 798 123 4
Gamya (green): +62 (0)21 840 754 7
Taxiku (bright yellow): +62 (0)21 478 621 21
Express (white): +62 (0)21 150 012 2
Transcab (bright orange): +62 (0)21 583 555 00
Trans Jakarta Busway
Public buses are irregular and mostly uncomfortable, and so are their terminal locations, which are mostly on the outskirts and a considerable distance from the city centre. However, there’s a new bus service in town. Jakarta’s own bus rapid transit is operated by TransJakarta, which locals refer to as simply ‘busway’. TransJakarta’s system commenced early 2004, with the fleet running along dedicated lanes and with subsidized ticket prices.
Gradually expanding, TransJakarta currently serves a total of 12 corridors and 11 special routes throughout the city. See Bus Route Map
Security measures taken a step further when compared to Jakarta’s conventional bus services, fleets are equipped with CCTVs and special designated spaces for female passengers, elders and the disabled. The bus stops or ‘halte’ are also manned by security personnel. Ticket prices start from a subsidised low of IDR 3,500.
Public vans that the locals refer to as either ‘mikrolet’ and ‘angkutan kota’ ‘angkot’ for short, aren’t metered and aren’t really recommended for foreigners. They are usually downtrodden with drivers known for their disregard of road rules and haphazard manoeuvres just for the sake of picking up passengers by roadsides and any spot. Nevertheless, if you’re in for some urban adventure, these can prove to be economical, ranging between IDR 2,000-5,000 for a single trip.
Indian auto company Bajaj, became eponymous with its two-stroke engine trikes that made footing in Indonesia in the early 70s. They have also become iconic with Jakarta local transport at the time. At a glance, they look like miniaturised versions of VW beetles. They’re noisy; tarpaulin covered cabins are tiny and can only fit two passengers at a time.
Bajajs are much like tuk-tuks famous in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. However, the Jakarta government have announced plans over the years either to phase out Bajajs, restore old units and their engines due their emissions and safety concerns, or replace them all with newer, locally produced models called Kancil. Again, these are for short routes and adventurous travellers. Rates are based on your haggling skills, normally from a low IDR 5,000.
Ojek (motorcycle taxis)
The traffic in Jakarta shares the hectic moped crowd that you would encounter in any other Southeast Asian city, and there are plenty of motorcycle taxis to cut you through the heavy traffic. These are locally referred to as ‘ojek’, and are widely available in various ‘posts’ around street corners, run by a local cooperative. Ojeks are economical, widely available and quicker than a taxi over short distances due their manoeuvrability zigzagging through traffic congestion.
Similar to Bajajs, ojeks should only be used for short distances, and be sure to negotiate before your journey if the offered price seems too high. Safety and security is debatable.
Go-jek (app-based ojeks)
In keeping up with the information age, and utilising a much preferred public transport option, the breakthrough local start-up company Go-jek has taken the Jakarta transport scene by storm. Available for iOs and Android, users need only to download the app and pick a service: instant courier, transport, food delivery, and shopping. It has recruited a large fleet of trusted motorcycle drivers, making availability one of its strong points. Payment is also cashless and transparent. Riders are equipped with GPS, making pick-up and delivery a breeze.
Hailed by users, the service has faced much contempt from conventional ojek drivers and cooperatives that see their market threatened. Several conventional ojek operated areas do not welcome Go-jek drivers. It is good for users to consider checking their pick-up spots, routes and destination beforehand and avoid ojek bases.
Driving around Jakarta can be convenient and fun, although not recommended if you’re new to the city and its traffic. You must have a national or international drivers’ licence. Alternatively, check out whether the car rental also provides chauffeured services. Several notable car rental counters are available at the arrivals of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
Major companies in Jakarta that provide car rentals include:
Astra Rent a Car (TRAC): +62 (0)21 877 877 87
Golden Bird: +62 (0)21 794 444 4
Cipaganti: +62 (0)021 720 461 6
Avis: +62 (0)21 314 290 0
Jakarta Car Rental: +62 (0)21 684 327 78
The long proposed Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit system (Jakarta MRT) is currently underway after years and years of postponements and polemics. The MRT system will comprise several elevated and underground stations covering a North-South line and an East-West line. The first phase of the North-South line will connect Central Jakarta and Cilandak, South Jakarta areas, with an estimate completion of early 2018.