Getting around Jakarta can be tricky thanks to traffic but thankfully there is a variety of ways to travel in the city. No matter what your personal needs and preference, you can find the perfect ride to navigate the big city.
Cars and mopeds
Driving yourself around Jakarta is also an option if you have the right paperwork and courage. Officially you will need to obtain an Indonesian driver’s license by passing the national test or have an international license. Just a note: buying a car can get pretty costly because of the high taxes though.
One of the most convenient ways to get around town is taxis. You can grab them off the street or at stands found at malls, hotels, and other high-traffic places. The most popular and most trustworthy taxi companies are Blue Bird and Express. Both are pretty ubiquitous on the streets on Jakarta but download their apps to order a taxi when you need them. You can also book premium taxis (think Mercedes) and larger vans through their website.
The transportation game in Jakarta was changed last year when taxi alternative Uber came to town. After some legal wrangling, the car service is now up and running. The upside of Uber is you don’t have to deal with handing over cash and many times the charge is cheaper than taking a taxi. Plus, during the rainy season and rush hour, having more transportation options is always a good idea.
Ojeks, or moto taxis, can traditionally be found during the day on most street corners. They can take one passenger just around the corner or even across town. The big pro is that the motos can get into tight spots making them super convenient during rush-hour traffic but you’ll have to put on your bargaining hat and haggle over a price with the driver. Mostly it depends on distance although traffic is a consideration too. Most drivers have a helmet for their passengers but it can still be quite dangerous weaving in an out of traffic with no protection. On a less serious note, you get pretty sweaty and blasted by exhaust and other pollutants so an ojek ride can get pretty grimy.
If you’re looking to hitch a quick ride or have something delivered, give the new app Go-jek a try. It’s been winning over fans thanks to its ease of use, set prices, and new shopping feature.
These small orange and blue two-seaters are the best way to get around short distances (think about the same length that can be covered by bicycle) in neighbourhoods. You’ll have to set a price with the driver but are usually much less than taking a taxi.
Transjakarta bus system
Transjakarta is the public bus system that runs through 12 corridors 24 hours a day, hitting the major landmarks and popular sites in the city, including Kota Tua, Taman Mini, Blok M, and the Central Business District. Recently, the Transjakarta upgraded to a e-ticketing system so for a flat Rp. 40,000 you get a reusable card and Rp. 20,000 of credit.
The only downside of Transjakarta is that the buses don’t really run on a set schedule. You might wait 30 minutes or more for a bus then have three come at once.
Metro-minis, kopajas, and angkots
These informal buses run on specific routes and you can tell which one is going where based on the numbers on the vehicles. Metro-minis are painted orange with a blue stripe while kopajas are green and white and angkots are smaller and light blue, but they all operate in very similar ways. Rides, regardless of distance cost Rp. 2,000 and unlike Transjakarta’s designated stops, you can hail them anywhere along their route and jump off wherever as well. All you have to do to get the vehicle to stop is tap on doors or windows to signify you want to get off.
One word of warning though, watch your belongings very carefully, pick-pockets are notorious for working on these vehicles.