There are mixed reviews and opinions on using buses within the city, since the taxi services available are safer and comparatively cheaper. There is a flat fare for regular buses of IDR 2,000, while air-conditioned buses (such as Mayasari or Patas AC) charge IDR 5,000. In order to pay for your fare, there is either a box next to the driver, where the money can be deposited or a ‘kondektur’ who will come around collect the fare from the passengers. Buses tend not to run on any fixed schedule and there may be delays. Moreover, sometimes the drivers end up driving aggressively in order to pick up more passengers and may not end up stopping in the designated bus area. When you want to leave the bus, just say ‘kiri’ (to the left) to the conductor or knock on the ceiling of the bus thrice (but make sure the bus driver hears you). Another useful tip is to try and disembark swiftly because at times buses may not come to a complete stop.
If one is looking for an even cheaper form of transportation – try the mini buses that are generally orange in color. There is the pale blue mini bus (mikrolet )and small vans (angkot) services that are available. These smaller buses tend to also go into smaller streets that the main buses are unable to enter. Fares for these mini buses ranges from IDR 1,500 to 2,500 and is paid directly to the driver. On the downside, it is difficult to determine the route of these buses.
An interesting fact about buses in Jakarta is that there are street musicians on these buses that are singing unplugged versions of Indonesian and Western pop music and requesting donations after their performances. Additionally, there are also street vendors there who are trying to sell items ranging from ballpoint pens, candies, toffees, donuts and other miscellaneous items.
Precautionary measures should be taken while travelling in buses, and one should refrain from sitting or standing towards the back, as this is where thieves tend to find unsuspecting passengers. Be careful of you’re surrounding areas and always double-check you’re belongings before disembarking.
It is also good to note that the seats on these buses are suited specifically to the typical Indonesian physique: short and slim. Some may find the seats slightly uncomfortable.
Following is a list of bus terminals in Jakarta:
1. Blok M – South Jakarta
2. Lebak Bulus – South Jakarta
3. Pasar Minggu – South Jakarta
4. Grogol, Kota, Kalideres – West Jakarta
5. Manggarai – South Jakarta
6. Pulogadung – East Jakarta
7. Rawamangun – East Jakarta
8. Kampung Melayu – East Jakarta
9. Kampung Rambutan – South Jakarta
10. Tanjung Priok – North Jakarta
11. Kampung Rambutan – South Jakarta
12. Tanjung Priok – North Jakarta
13. Senen – Central Jakarta
The main terminal for mikrolet and the numerous red and blue Metro Mini buses is at the Pasar Senen station.
The tourist office can provide a little information on buses around Jakarta. Some useful buses:
ACB1 Blok M to Kota via Jl Sudirman and Jl Thamrin.
Korridor I Blok M to Kota via Jl Sudirman and Jl Thamrin.
Korridor II Harmoni bus terminal to Pulo Gadung.
Korridor III Harmoni to Kalideres bus terminal.
P38 Blok M to Tanjung Priok via Jl Gatot Subroto.
P125 Blok M to Tanjung Priok via Jl Jenderal Sudirman.
S77 Blok M to Ragunan via Kemang.