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Moving around in Jakarta

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 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 busway system.


Moving around by city bus
Using the city buses in Jakarta

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 2000, while air conditioned buses (Mayasari or Patas AC) cost Rp5000. 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 1500 to 2500, 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 Rp500 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. If you do happen to be traveling 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 shout 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.

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).


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Last revised on December 27, 2009
    
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