City transportation in Jakarta
Updated April 2016
Although there is considerable variety in the road transport available, most of it is not recommendable for visiting tourists. Navigating Jakarta in its buses is a real challenge, unless you speak the local languages or know the city well.
A few years ago, the Government introduced the TransJakarta buses, which have their own lanes allowing them to move rapidly from one area to another in the otherwise very slow, heavy traffic. However, as with so many aspects of Jakarta roads, there have been many accidents involving injuries and death. There are at the moment 12 Transjakarta corridors that cover most of the city, but the lack of feeder routes means that getting to the passenger's final destination is not always easy. During the rush hours these buses get so crowded that many locals prefer the added cost and longer delays of taking a taxi. The overcrowding of the buses provides the perfect environment for pickpockets who are widespread and target foreigners preferentially.
The best alternative is the much better taxi service. There are basically 3 categories: Premium fare, Higher fare, and Lower fare. The first offers better class vehicles and has to be pre-booked. The best example is the SilverBird company Telephone:(021) 7981234. The last runs on tariffs, which appear to be below the government approved ones, but it is the middle class that is recommended for visiting tourists, and among them the BlueBird company receives the most praise for the state of their cars, and their reliability. Telephone: (021) 79171234/7941234, or ask the Hotel to call it for you.
Jakarta taxis have meters. For an idea of fares, a 15 minute Bluebird ride might cost 20/25 thousand Rupiah, and a 30 minute ride 45/50 thousand.
If you have a portable GPS use it and make sure the driver sees it; that might discourage him from taking the usual tourist detours...
This is a type of Über on two wheels. Download an app and call the nearest bike that will take you to your destination avoiding, as much as possible, the usual massive traffic jams. You are told the exact fare when you book and the service promises safety and professionalism. They also have cars.
There are two main companies operating in Jakarta: the original Indonesian Go-Jek: http://www.go-jek.com/, and the later foreign arrival GrabBike. which has an English language website: https://www.grab.com/id/en/. They are easily distinguished by the uniform jackets, and the coloured green helmets with the respective logo of their company.
You may also come across three-wheeled scooters, although these are not allowed in many of the main arteries of Jakarta. They are best avoided unless you speak Indonesian and are used to the usual haggling over the price.