Indonesia — Transportation
Indonesia Taxis and Car Rental
Taxis are available in major cities around Indonesia, in particular Jakarta, Surabaya and Medan. Not only are they cheap, but are also reliable and safe. Several major companies operate taxi services throughout Indonesia, but Blue Bird Taxis (+62-21-7917-1234) and Express Taxis (+62-61-455-2211) are the more reputable organizations. Always request to use the meter, and if the driver refuses, find another cab as there are always plenty available. Some cab drivers may even state a minimum fare before departing. If you hear this, it is also time to find another taxi, unless the amount is reasonably cheap.
Visitors to Indonesia will find a number of large car rental companies at airports and major tourist centers, but don’t rent a car unless you have experience driving here. Road rules are quite relaxed, and locals rarely follow them. It is possible to rent a car with a driver, which is recommended if you must have your own wheels, although it is much more expensive than just jumping in a taxi.
Indonesia Water Taxis
For most parts of the country, Indonesia relies heavily on water ferries and taxis for transportation. There are several companies offering ferry services between islands, ASDP and PELNI being the largest. Just about every inhabited island can be reached via ferry, but this can sometimes be more arduous than enjoyable. Ferries are often overloaded, undermanned, and sometimes not well maintained, so it can be dangerous in rough seas. Most of the European-style water taxis have different class levels of pricing with different facilities. Of course, first class is usually the most expensive, but most comfortable.
Indonesia Trains and Buses
Most cities and towns around Indonesia have a bus system in place. Jakarta’s bus network is the largest, providing cheap connections to all areas of the city and the surrounding region. The Transjakarta Busway is the best public transportation network in Indonesia. Buses are extremely affordable, but aren’t as comfortable or safe as taxis. Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Medan also have smaller bus services.
Inter-city buses are available on the major islands of Java and Sumatra, and there are smaller bus networks provided on several other inhabited islands. These range from high-class coaches to local vans. Small vans and minibuses are more common outside the city of Jakarta and tourists should be aware that bus trips across islands are not always the safest way to travel. Drivers speed a lot of the time and break road rules constantly.
The islands of Java and Sumatra boast railway connections between the largest cities. Java’s rail network is the most dominant in Indonesia, linking Jakarta to a range of other metropolises and towns including Yogyakarta and Surabaya. Sumatra’s train network is more localized, found around the cities of Medan in the north, and Palembang in the south. Tickets are reasonably cheap, especially in comparison to domestic flights. PT Kereta Api operates the train network in Indonesia.