Friday, August 24, 2007

Saved by the bus

We were so happy when we discovered that the airport bus goes right by our neighborhood. Not only is it fast and cheap (about $1.50), but it means we can avoid the voracious cab drivers that hang out in front of the terminal. If you show the slightest interest, they surround you, badgering you with offers and lies ("it's cheaper if we don't use the meter"; "there's a $5 surcharge"; "there aren't any buses"). Airport cab drivers seem to be specially selected for their dishonesty. It's a shame that the few tourists who defy the odds and come to Jakarta get browbeaten and cheated the moment they stumble out of the terminal.

Anyway, the bus is like garlic to vampires -- utter the word to taxi drivers, and they fade back into the night with a look of horror and vexation.


Herbert Silverman said...

just so not to scare-off potential tourists who plan to visit jakarta, not all jakarta taxis are bad.
Rule of thumb: the minute you exit the airport, find the taxi-stand for Blue Bird (normal taxi), or Silver Bird (limo style, more expensive).

If you arrive from international flight, you can even go to blue bird counter right by the exit and hire a car with driver for a flat rate. It's slightly more expensive than cabs (but still reasonable, <$25 last time I check, depending on what kind of car), but a nice man will help you with your luggage and take you to the car.

I don't recommend the bus for a first-timer (especially if you have luggage), because most likely you will get really confused of where to go when you get off at your destination. (That unless you already know where you are going, of course).

Don't worry, Jakarta is not any less safe than any other big cities in Asia, believe me. In fact, I find the people there friendlier and more helpful than some other asian cities I've been to.

kopisusu2 said...

Oh, Jakarta taxis are fine - I'm amazed that the drivers are so patient and considerate of other vehicles on the road, since they have to deal with this crazy traffic all day. But I don't know why they allow them to behave so badly at the airport. And yes, quite right about Bluebird. But sometimes there's a long line, and the fare to Pejompongan can be pretty high.

No, I wouldn't recommend the bus for first-timers. Jakarta is confuisng enough. And I quite agree on safety. We take a lot of taxis (and buses, bemos, etc.) and have never had any trouble.