A word of caution is in order when speaking of taxis in general.
In reality there is little regulation or enforcement in the Indonesian
taxi business. The following recommendations are well worth the
time and effort to remember.
1. Before entering a taxi make sure the driver agrees to take you
to your destination. Some drivers don’t like to go into congested
areas because of the traffic jams.
2. Be sure there is a driver ID on the dashboard along with the
Company logo and code number. If there is no such information clearly
visible do not get into the
3. Reputable companies insist that their drivers be well mannered,
well groomed, wear the company uniform/shirt and shoes. This is
one time when it is better to judge a book by its cover. The taxi
driver's appearance is reflective of the companies attitude toward
4. Once you are in a cab if the driver tries to bargain, or claims
that his meter is broken, best to immediately get out of the taxi.
Once you have cleared customs you are now faced with ground transport
choices. Individuals will approach and beseech you “Taxi Mister?”.
Unless you are in the mood for an adventure, an argument and/or
the ultimate in disappointment and frustration, these “private operators”
and their overtures should be ignored. These are known as taxi
gelap (dark taxis) and are "illegal transportation"
operations. Licensed taxis have commercial license plates (which
is yellow with black letters) whereas these private taxis have a
standard black license plate with white letters - hence the name
taxi gelap. In reality there are only two safe, comfortable options
despite the colorful array of taxis lined up hoping for your business
- Blue Bird Taxi and it's more
upscale counterpart - Silver Bird /
Golden Bird Taxi.
A taxi from the airport into the central business district in a
Blue Bird will cost approximately Rp. 100,000.-. Silver Bird will
cost approximately Rp. 150,000.-. This
is more than what will appear on the meter because of the airport
pickup fee of Rp. 8,000. as well as there are two toll ways; the
first for Rp.2,500 and the second for Rp. 6,000 (these tolls are
payable on the return trip as well). Often
the driver will pay these tolls and expect reimbursement but sometimes
the drive will ask you, the passenger, to pay. In that case give
the driver Rp. 10,000 and after he pays the second toll he will
give you the change.
Blue Bird Taxi
There are many taxi companies to choose from however, The
Blue Bird Group has set the standard for dependability, safety
and service over time.
There are 3 levels of service. The workhorse of the fleet is the
Blue Bird Taxi. These queue up outside the terminal and are mixed
in among the other cabs. Since you are expected to take the taxi
at the front of the line you may not get a taxi from the Blue Bird
group. Our recommendation is wait in the queue until a Blue Bird
Taxi is available however keep in mind other savy travelers may
be doing the same thing...
A little know added safety feature of all Blue Bird Group taxis
is a hidden security device which, if activated, enables the dispatcher
to overhear and record the conversation between the driver and passenger
or intruder. In an emergency, an alert goes out and the taxi is
quickly surrounded by other taxis of the same company to ensure
the safety of the passenger and driver. There is no need to wait
for a lengthy, uncertain response from the police.
Silver Bird / Golden
There is a counter for Silver Bird and
Golden Bird Taxis conveniently located just outside the customs
area and before you enter the meeting area. All
first time visitors are encouraged to book their taxi at this counter.
Additionally the company has taxis at all 4 & 5 star hotels
throughout the city.
As such, the strongest recommendation is to book a “Silver
Bird Taxi” at the counter noted above. Silver Bird taxis
are imported Nissan Cedric or Volvo sedans (while Golden Bird taxis
are Mercedes sedans) and feature extra leg room, trunk space, air
conditioning and courteous service. Silver Bird drivers
are usually quite fluent in English and are familiar with Jakarta
office buildings, embassies, shopping centers and tourist areas.
Silver Bird taxis start at Rp. 4,500.- at the flag drop (approx.
50 cents US) compared to Rp. 4,000.- for a standard taxi (a steal
in our book).
Other Ground Transport
- Damri Buses
We would be remiss if we didn't mention the DAMRI Bus. Owned by
the government, Damri buses are a public, low cost but effective
alternative for the budget traveler to get from the airport to downtown
Jakarta. DAMRI buses leave the airport at approximately 40 minute
intervals - or whenever the bus is full. Last time we checked, the
fare was Rp. 9,000.- You are dropped off at either Blok
M Mall in South Jakarta or the Gambir
Railway Station in the Central Business District where, in
either location, you can get a taxi or bajaj (see photo at top of
You pay upon boarding the bus and you must load your luggage yourself.
Not for everyone but if you have time, don't have much luggage and
want to experience Jakarta up close and personal - here's your chance.