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Bajaj - an Indian style auto rickshaw is a very common mode of transport and perfect for short trips in Jakarta  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Indonesia > Jakarta

Jakarta Getting around

  
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Getting around Jakarta is a problem. The city layout is chaotic and totally bewildering, traffic is indisputably the worst in South-East Asia with horrendous traffic jams (macet "MAH-chet") slowing the city to a crawl during rush hour, and the current railway system is inadequate to say the least. The construction of a monorail system, started in 2004, soon ground to a halt over political infighting and the main glimmer of hope is the gradually expanding Transjakarta Busway (Bus Rapid Transit) system.

Various areas of the city have different levels of chaos. The most well organized traffic is only at Golden Triangle (MH Thamrin, Jendral Sudirman, and H.R.Rasuna Said.) Recently, new housing complexes also have good traffic too.

By train

Commuter trains in Jakarta connect the city center with outlying regions, namely Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, Bojonggede, Bogor and Serpong.

Commuter services operate from 5 a.m. (first train departing Bogor to Jakarta) to almost 10 p.m. (last train leaving Jakarta for Bogor). Trains often run late, though. Weekend special services connect Depok and Bogor with the popular Ancol entertainment park in Jakarta.

Jakarta kota train station  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Station names written with CAPITALS are regular express stops. Several express trains (and semi-express trains) stop at other stations only at certain times outside the rush hours. All trains other than the expresses do not stop at Gambir station, the main station in Jakarta, so this might be a problem for those arriving from other regions and wanting to continue to other stations.

The choice is to take an express train to the nearest station and continuing by other forms of transport, or taking a taxi to Juanda station, located a few hundred meters north of Gambir, close enough if you wish to walk. If coming from Jalan Jaksa area, another option is just to walk to Gondangdia (next one south of Gambir) station, it's just 5-10 minutes walk to the left from the southern end of Jaksa.

Types of trains

There are four types of trains: express (air-conditioned non-stop trains, generally most useful for commuters going and returning from work), semi-express (similar to express, but with more stops, runs outside the rush hours), ekonomi AC (all-stops, air-conditioned, probably most useful for tourists) and ekonomi.

By busway

The Transjakarta Busway (in Indonesian known as busway or Tije) is modern, air-conditioned and generally comfortable, although sometimes service can be spotty (they have a knack of going to the depot for service and refueling at the same time during the rush hours). The bus is often crowded during rush hours.

Unlike Jakarta's other buses, busway buses shuttle on fully dedicated lanes and passengers must use dedicated stations with automatic doors, usually found in the middle of large thoroughfares connected to both sides by overhead bridges.

The system is remarkably user-friendly by Jakartan standards, with station announcements and an LED display inside the purpose-built vehicles. Grab onto a handle as soon as you enter the bus as they move away from the stop suddenly and quickly.

Park and Ride facilities are in Ragunan, South Jakarta, Kampung Rambutan, East Jakarta and Kalideres, West Jakarta and in late 2010 the city administration was holding a tender for the construction of Park and Ride facilities in Pulo Gebang, East Jakarta. That construction of that facility is planned to start in 2011.

Ticket prices

Buses run from 5AM to 10PM daily. Tickets cost a flat Rp 2,000 before 7AM, and Rp 3,500 after. Transfers between lines are free be careful not to exit the system until your journey is completed. The hub at Harmony station is the busiest interchange. The buses can get very crowded, especially during rush hours at 7AM and 4PM, when office workers are on the move.

iPhone and Blackberry Travel applications

If you have an iPhone or iPod touch, a Transjakarta Application map is also available to download. As of May 2009, the application is free. For blackberry users a Transjakarta Guide for Blackberry software download is available.

By bus

It's advisable to refrain from using other buses for intracity travel; stick with taxis as they are safer. If you're feeling adventurous, as of October 2005 the flat fare for regular buses is Rp 2,000, while air conditioned buses (Mayasari or Patas AC) cost Rp 5,000. Some buses have a box at the front next to the driver where you can pay your fares, while others employ a man or a kondektur who will personally collect the fares from passengers.

Cheaper yet are mikrolet (mini-buses) and angkot (small vans) that ply the smaller streets and whose fares vary from Rp 1,500 to 2,500, but good luck figuring out the routes. You pay the fare directly to the driver after getting off.

You may need to spare one or two Rp 500 coins before boarding the bus, since there is on-board "entertainment" and other distractions. On a typical day, you may find street musicians singing unplugged versions of Indonesian and Western pop songs asking for donations at the end of the performance, and street vendors, one after another, trying to sell almost everything, starting from ballpoint pens, candies, to boxed donuts and health goods.

Caution

If you do happen to be travelling in a bus, refrain from sitting or standing at the back area of the bus as this is where muggers find their prey. Always keep an eye on your belongings and be alert at all times as pickpocketing occurs.

Do note that buses do not run according to any schedule or timetable. Sometimes a bus may take a while to come,in other circumstances it is possible that two of the same bus routes may come together and these drivers will definitely drive aggressively in order to get more passengers. They do not stop at any particular bus stop and can stop just about anywhere they like. If you want to get off, simply say "kiri" (to the left) to the "kondektur" or just knock on the ceiling of the bus for three times (be sure that the driver hears your thumping), and the bus driver will find a place to drop you. An additional tip to alight from these buses is to use your left foot first to maintain balance and try to get down as quickly as possible as they do not fully stop the bus.

Also note that seats in these buses are built for Indonesians who're typically shorter and more slender and agile than people with a larger build such as caucasians and africans. Non-Indonesians might find the seats in these buses to be confined and uncomfortable.

By car

Rental cars are available, but unless you are familiar with local driving practices or lack thereof, take reputable taxis. If you're from a foreign country, it is not recommended to rent a car and drive on your own. The chaotic and no-rules traffic will certainly give you a headache. Renting a car with a driver is much a better idea. The fixed price of gasoline is Rp 4,500/litre and the price of diesel fuel is Rp 4,500/litre (as of January 2009)

Toll roads circle the city and are faster when the traffic is good, but are very often jammed themselves. The drainage systems of major roads are poorly maintained and during rainy season (Dec-Feb) major roads may be flooded, leading to total gridlock as motors stall.

Parking

Finding parking places in residential areas can be difficult due to the narrow roads. Paid parking is easy to find in shopping malls, offices and the like is typically Rp 2,000/2hr plus Rp 2000 for each next hour. Side streets parking also required to pay Rp 2,000.

By taxi

Most visitors opt to travel by taxi, which is cheap and occasionally even fast. There are a multitude of taxi companies of varying degrees of dependability.

The Blue Bird group is known for their reliability, has an efficient telephone order service and always use their meter.

  • The Blue Bird group also runs Silver Bird, Morante, Cendrawasih and Pusaka Nuri taxis, They normally use late model Toyota Vios sedans.
  • The Silver Bird executive taxi charges a premium for a larger car, normally a Mercedes Benz C & E Class or a Toyota Vellfire).

Other options

Some other large, generally reliable companies include 'Taxiku, Express , Dian Taksi, and newly established Taxicab. You can generally determine a good cabbie by asking "argo?" ("meter?") - if they say no or "tidak", get another taxi. Taxis parked near train/bus stations, tourist attractions, and hotels often refuse to use the meter and quote silly prices (especially from foreigners) - in this case, it's a good idea to walk away a bit, then hail a passing Blue Bird taxi.

A cheaper option is to take a TARIF BAWAH (low tariff) taxi - Putra (dark blue) is regarded as a reasonable TARIF BAWAH taxi, though not of a comparable standard to Blue Bird. Many of these "Tarif Lama" or Tarif Bawah" taxi are mechanically unsound and have drivers of highly questionable skill. They also often engage in determined efforts to overcharge.

The standard taxi rate (effective February 2009) for Blue Bird is Rp.6000 flag-fall, and Rp.3000/km after the first 2 km. Taxis marked TARIF BAWAH use the older, cheaper rate (flag-fall fare is Rp.5000 typically), while Silver Bird is more expensive. Tipping is not necessary but rounding the meter up to the nearest Rp 1,000 is expected, so prepare some change, or else you may be rounded up to the nearest Rp 5,000.

Caution

Beware that some of the less reputable taxi operators may use a rigged meter. If using one of these less reputable taxi you may end up paying significantly more than when using one from the more reliable Blue Bird service. If you have no idea how much the taxi fare to your destination should be, it is better to stick to the companies mentioned above, even the locals do this, or just use a Blue Bird.

Keep the doors locked and the windows closed when traveling in a taxi, as luxury items or a bag can be an attractive target when stuck in a traffic jam or traffic light. Avoid using the smaller taxi companies especially if you are alone, and try to know the vague route - the driver might well take you a roundabout route to avoid traffic, but you will know the general direction. Stating your direction clearly and confidently will usually pre-empt any temptation to take you on the long route. It is also not uncommon for taxi drivers to be recent arrivals in Jakarta - they often don't know their way around and may be relying on you to direct them - ensure that they know the way before you get in.

By bajaj

Bajaj - an Indian style auto rickshaw is a very common mode of transport and perfect for short trips in Jakarta  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

The Jakartan equivalent to Thailand's tuk-tuk is the bajaj (pronounced "bahdge-eye"), orange mutant scooters souped up in India into tricycles that carry passengers in a small cabin at the back.

They're a popular way to get around town since they can weave through Jakarta's interminable traffic jams much like motorbikes can. Although slow, boneshaking (suspension is not a feature in a bajaj), hot (locals joke about the "natural A/C") and the quick way to breathing in more exhaust fumes than you ever thought possible, riding around in these little motor-bugs can really grow on you.

There are no set prices, but a short hop of a few city blocks shouldn't cost much more than Rp 5,000. Be sure to agree to (read: haggle) a price before you set off! Bajaj drivers are happy to overcharge visitors, and often can ask double or even more of what you would pay by meter in air-conditioned Blue Bird taxi (obviously, the normal price should be less than even for a cheaper variety of taxi). Locals who regularly use the bajaj know what a typical fare should be and are happy to tell you. Also, since bajaj aren't allowed on some of the larger roads in Jakarta, your route may well take you through the bewildering warren of backstreets. Try to keep an eye on what direction you're going, because some unscrupulous bajaj drivers see nothing wrong with taking the "scenic" route and then charging you double or triple the price.

By ojek

If you're poking around narrow back streets, or just in such a hurry that you're willing to lose a limb or more to get there, then Jakarta's motorcycle taxis (ojek) might be the ticket for you. Jakarta's ojek services consist of guys with bikes lounging around street corners, who usually shuttle short distances down alleys and roads but will also do longer trips for a price.

Agree on the fare before you set off. And insist on a helmet, and wear it properly. No need to make it more insanely dangerous than it already is. (The ojek drivers will insist you're safe with them and that they'll drive carefully, but this has little to do with reality.)

By helicopter

If you're in a hurry and seriously loaded, Janis Air Transport (tel. 62 21 8350024) will be happy to charter a helicopter for you.

On foot

As a rule, walking around the center of Jakarta is neither fun nor practical. With the exception of a few posher areas, sidewalks are crowded with pushcart vendors, drivers disregard pedestrians and crossing streets can be suicidal. On many busy streets there are no pedestrian crossings, so it's best to latch onto a local and follow them as they weave their way through the endless flow of cars.

Muggings do occur, especially on overhead bridges, and can happen even in the daytime. If you use pedestrian bridge, watch out for wonky steps and holes, and motorcycles and bicycles that often use the bridge illegally.

Transport Companies in Jakarta

Car Rental PanenRental
Good range of late model vehicles. Handfone +62 897 9794497 (24 hrs)
in Jakarta
Car Rental Autonet Rent Car
Jl. Gandaria VIII / 10 Central Jakarta Phone: +62 21 7396518
in Jakarta
 
Car Rental Avis Rent A Car
Jl. P. Diponegoro 25 Central Jakarta Phone: +62 21 3142900
in Jakarta
Car Rental Bara Bentala Indonesia
PT Jl. Kebon Jeruk Raya 126 West Jakarta Phone: +62 21 5362222
in Jakarta
 
Car Rental Bumiputera Bot Finance Wisma Bumiputera
Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 75 Central Jakarta Phone: +62 21 5224522
in Jakarta
Car Rental Car Rental 49
Jl. Kaji 49 Central Jakarta Phone: +62 21 6328256
in Jakarta
 
Car Rental Central Sumahi Motor PT
Jl. Hayam Wuruk 6 Central Jakarta Phone: +62 21 3456560
in Jakarta
Car Rental Dewamuda Perkasa PT
Jl. Raya Arjuna Selatan Perk, Kebon Jeruk Baru B1 C / 4 West Jakarta Phone: +62 21 5321561
in Jakarta
 
Car Rental Elsas Cita Cemerlang PT
Jl. Penjernihan I / 30 Central Jakarta Phone: +62 21 5719525
in Jakarta
 




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