Jakarta public transport leaves a lot to be desired – it is terrible. Visitors to Jakarta are far better off to use one of the excellent taxi services.
The TransJakarta Busway is the mainstay of Jakarta’s mass transit system. The problems with TransJakarta begin at the stations. The flat top, steel and glass enclosures have no ventilation at all. By the time the bus arrives, you’ll be drenched in sweat. It’s hard to imagine how one could design a bus station to be any more uncomfortable than these are.
When the bus finally stops, it will be packed to the gills. A few people may get off, and a few may get on.
If you’re lucky enough to push your way onto the bus, you won’t need to hang on, because it’s like a sardine can. The buses are air conditioned, but it doesn’t help much when the bus is so far over capacity. And, pickpockets abound – be very careful with your belongings.
The best time to use the Busway is between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00p.m., and on Sundays. There is a downloadable map on their website. The fare is Rp.3,500, and there are no transfer fees.
Small local buses supplement the TransJakarta Busway; they run on set routes. Most of them are not air conditioned – they too are crowded, and often smell of diesel fuel. Fare is Rp.2,000
These small blue, and sometimes red minivans are called Microlets. They run on set routes in a fairly small area. The fare is Rp.1,500.
These noisy, smoking monsters are the most uncomfortable of all Jakarta’s public transport options. There is no set route and no set fare. Locals don’t seem to have a problem with fares, but foreigners have to bargain hard.
Taxi’s are more expensive, but the best option for visitors. Check out my post on Jakarta Taxi Safety for the ins and outs of taking a taxi in Jakarta.