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 hours (several hours in the morning and in the evening), 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. The gradually expanding Transjakarta Busway (Bus Rapid Transit) system) helps to make things easier, but this is not enough for the biggest city in the world without rail rapid transit system. The first line of Jakarta MRT is currently scheduled to open in 2016 - but the latest news said that te construction are delayed from 2012 to mid-2013.
Various areas of the city have different levels of chaos. The most well organised traffic is only at Golden Triangle (MH Thamrin, Jendral Sudirman, and H.R. Rasuna Said.). Recently, new housing complexes also have good traffic too.
Commuter trains in Jakarta connect the city centre with outlying regions, namely Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, Bojonggede, Bogor and Serpong. Since 2011, the routes has been changed to 5 routes + additional line to Tanjung Priok.
Commuter services operate from 5AM (first train departing Bogor to Jakarta) to almost 10PM (last train leaving Jakarta for Bogor). Trains sometimes run late, though. Passengers have to wait 5–30 minutes if the train was late. Weekend special services connect Depok and Bogor with the popular Ancol entertainment park in Jakarta.
Commuter services operates over these lines:
Station names written with CAPITALS are main station, with transit point, terminus, or both. Station names written in BOLD are intercity stations.
Currently (after rearranging the route and erasing express line in 2011) there are 2 types of trains Commuter line train (Air conditioned, similar to ekonomi AC before, ticket price range Rp 7000 to Rp 9000 regarding each line) and Ekonomi train (non-AC, opened door, ticket price Rp 3000). Both types normally stop at all stations, except Gambir Station (since 2012). Gambir station, the main station in Jakarta, only serving as a stop for the intercity train, so this might be a problem for those arriving in Gambir from other regions and wanting to continue to other stations. The choice is 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.
Riding the ekonomi class is not advisable: crime and sexual harassment are known to happen inside packed trains. During the non-rush hours, though, economy train travel is quite an interesting experience. It is a tour of Jakarta's darker side, with peddlers offering every imaginable article (from safety pins to cell-phone starter kits), various sorts of entertainment, ranging from one-person orchestras to full-sized bands, and a chance to sample real poverty; you are riding a slum on wheels. Just remember to keep an eye on your belongings all the time, do not flash valuables if you have any, and, if you have a bag, hold it in front of you (that's what many locals also do in these trains).
The Transjakarta Busway (in Indonesian known as busway or TJ) 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. There are twelve lines operational as of February 2012. Bus Stop names written with CAPITALS (x) are transit stop to other corridor (corridor x), except ASMI, RSPAD, UNJ, and SMK 57 bus stops.
The other three corridors will be finished before end of 2016.
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.
Buses run from 5AM-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 Harmoni 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. 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.
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, from ballpoint pens and candies to boxed donuts and health goods.
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.
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 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 are 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 confining and uncomfortable.
List of bus terminals in Jakarta: Blok M (South Jakarta), Lebak Bulus (South Jakarta), Pasar Minggu (South Jakarta), Grogol, Kota, Kalideres (West Jakarta), Manggarai (South Jakarta), Pulogadung (East Jakarta), Rawamangun (East Jakarta), Kampung Melayu (East Jakarta), Kampung Rambutan (South Jakarta), Tanjung Priok (North Jakarta), Senen (Central Jakarta).
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 traffic will certainly give you a headache. Renting a car with a driver is a much better idea.
The price of fuel in Indonesia is relatively low due to the application of subsidies by the central government. Pertamina outlets supply gasoline (bensin) (petrol) at Rp 6.500/litre, diesel fuel (solar) is also Rp 5,500/litre. Non-subsidised prices for products such as Pertamax (RON 92 Pertamax high-octane gasoline are higher at Rp 10,200/litre, RON 95 Pertamax Plus Rp 10,350 and Pertamina-Dex (diesel fuel) is around Rp 10,100. Prices at outlets operated by Shell, Mobil and Petronas are similar.
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 the rainy season from Dec-Feb major roads may be flooded, leading to even worst traffic congestion than normal. You can use e-toll card, that is issued by Mandiri Bank, a type of e-money card that will speed up your transaction at the toll gate.
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/hr - Rp 5,000/hr plus Rp 2,000 - Rp 5,000 for each subsequent hour. Street parking often requires to payment of Rp 2,000 to a parking 'attendant'.
If you do decide to drive by yourself or having a driver in Jakarta, please remember that there is a 3 in 1 system implemented in some of the main thoroughfares in the morning from 7.30-10AM and in the afternoon from 4.30-7 PM, this requires a car to have a minimum of three occupants. The routes include the whole stretch from Kota train station through Blok M via Jl. Hayam Wuruk, Jl. Thamrin, Jl. Sudirman and Jl.Sisingamangaraja; Jl. Gatot Subroto from the Senayan-JCC overpass to the intersection with Jl. HR Rasuna Said. There are intentions from the local government to change this system to an Electronic Road Pricing system beginning in future.
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 ☎+62 21 79171234, (24 hr) is known for their reliability, has an efficient telephone order service and always uses their meter.
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.
Many of the numerous other "Tarif Lama" or Tarif Bawah" taxis are mechanically unsound and have drivers of questionable skill. They also often engage in determined efforts to overcharge.
The standard taxi rate (effective February 2009) for Blue Bird is Rp 6,000 flag-fall, and Rp 3,000/km after the first 2 km. Taxis marked TARIF BAWAH use the older, cheaper rate (flag-fall fare is Rp 5,000 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.
Beware that some of the less reputable taxi operators may use a rigged meter. If using one of these less reputable taxis you may end up getting ripped off (and I mean, terribly ripped off) basically because you are new to the country. 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, as even the locals do this, or just use a Blue Bird since they can be trusted.
Keep the doors locked and the windows closed when travelling 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.
Another solution for getting around in Jakarta is to rent a car. However for most visitors it is best to use a local driver rather than self-drive as many local drivers are reckless and have little regard for safety.
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. Beside the average orange bajaj, there is blue bajaj, which using gas as their fuel.
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 and windy (locals joke about the "natural A/C") and the quick way to breathing in more exhaust fumes than you ever thought possible (maybe less if you riding blue bajaj), 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 can often 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.
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. 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, some of them are true and sometimes just lies, depend on the drivers. Before you choose the driver, pay attention in their motorcycle outlook and their helmets, sometimes it can show the driver's character. What locals normally pay to them is Rp 5,000 for a short ride and Rp 7,000 to 10,000 for a longer (roughly more than kilometer or 15 minutes walk) one. Foreigners are likely to be asked for more, but generally ojek drivers will accept the proper fare if you insist on it, unless they see you really need to use their service, such as if you're in a hurry but there's a huge traffic jam so using a taxi or bus will be too slow.
In November 2011, Ojek with argometer is called Taxijek has launched in Jakarta and is provided with company's driver identity card, a helmet for passengers, disposable shower caps to wear underneath and an extra raincoat. The fee is cheaper than the non-argometer ojeks make drivers of non-argometer ojeks jealous, moreover the Taxijek can enter the gate of elite housing complexes to pick up passengers due to Taxijek have special driver identity cards. The first flag start at Rp 4,000 ($0.44) and Rp 1,000 ($0.11) for another each kilometer. Call (021)94440739 or visit www.taxijek.com for more information.
Janis Air Transport ☎+62 21 8350024. If you're in a hurry and seriously loaded, charter a helicopter.
Cycling provision in Jakarta is (almost) non-existent, but the first signs of a cycling culture are emerging. Every Sundays, Jalan Sudirman and Thamrin (and every month in other place in each cities in Jakarta) from 6AM are emptied for cycling and walking and kept car free until 12AM. Some The atmosphere can be festive, because some weeks there's some event helded in some places (especially in Hotel Indonesia Roundabout).
As a rule, walking around the centre 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. As a matter of fact, pedestrian crossings do nothing, other than give the visitor a false sense of security, because the local drivers don't stop or even slow down for pedestrians, even at pedrestrian crossings. 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 occasionally, such as on overhead bridges, and can happen even in the daytime. If you use pedestrian bridges, watch out for wonky steps and holes, and motorcycles that sometimes use the bridge illegally.
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