Tourists and visitors to the city generally prefer using the taxi as their principal mode of transportation since it is relatively cheaper and faster. There are numerous taxi companies – however, not all of them are reliable. Taxi services in Jakarta are run by private companies – and can be identified by the different color of the taxis. There are also several types of taxi services available ranging from budget to regular to executive, and special taxis.
Taxis in Jakarta can be hailed from the street. If the taxi light is on, it means that it's vacant. Other than that, you can call the taxi company directly or wait at the designated taxi stands.
The most dependable group is the Blue Bird group, which also runs the Silver Bird (an executive taxi, which is more expensive), Morante, Cendrawasih and Pusaka Nuri taxis. This taxi service can be identified with the blue color of the taxi; however, please be careful to read the sticker on the taxicab itself.
An even cheaper option is to use the ‘tarif bawah’ low tariff taxi. Amongst these taxis, the most reliable and safest one is the Putra, which is dark blue in color. These taxis are approximately half the price of the Blue Bird taxis, which can amount to quite a bit if used frequently. Other companies include the Taxiku, Express, Dian Taksi and Taxicab. You should always ask the cab driver ‘argo’ (meter) and if they say no (tidak) it is better to get another taxi.
As of February 2009, the standard taxi rate IDR 6000 flagfall, and IRD 3000 per km after the first 2 km. Tipping is not necessary but rounding the meter up to the nearest IDR 1000 is expected. Carry change as taxi drivers generally do not carry any.
As a precautionary measure, it is strongly advised to keep the doors & windows locked while traveling in a taxi, because bags, watches, and cell phones make attractive targets when stuck in a traffic jam or traffic light. In fact, certain ‘organized’ criminal groups in Jakarta often attack passengers who use their cellular phone during traffic jam or near traffic light. Additionally, it is recommended to note the taxi number along with drivers name and ID number in case you forget something inside the taxi.
If one is unsure of routes or is travelling alone, be careful about using a smaller taxi company as the driver may take a longer route to avoid traffic. Be confident when stating your destination and let them know you will not be directing them.
Bluebird cabs (7941234, 7981001) are pale blue, and have the best reputation; a minimum of IDR 20,000 is charged for ordered taxis. Any toll road charges and parking fees – there are lots of them – are extra and paid by the passenger.
Budget taxis can be identified by a distinctive 'Tarif Bawah' sticker. It means that this taxi charges lower than regular taxi. However, some people believe that sometimes the drivers cheat on the meter (so that the meter runs faster), bring tourists circling around the city, or even possibly rob passengers (several cases of taxi crime has been reported, mostly by those using this type of taxi). Express Taxi (white-colored sedan with distinctive stylized 'E' letter in its yellow taxi light), Gamya (green color) and Transcab (bright orange color with TV screen inside) are probably the only better operator of this type of taxi. The taxi operator to avoid is Re Taxi and Prestasi as these are particularly notorious.
Regular taxis also use sedans. They charge a higher rate. The first 2km is charged at Rp6,000 and Rp 300 for every subsequent 100meters. Highly recommended for tourists and all travelers, is 'Blue Bird Taxi Group' (please look carefully at the sticker bearing the same name on the windscreen). Don't recognize the taxi by its color (metallic blue or baby blue) as other companies also try to use blue color to imitate their success.
Executive taxis have a fleet of high luxury vehicles such as Mercedes and Toyota Crowns and these are operated by Silverbird. They can be found at the airport, 5 star hotels, upscale shopping areas and eating areas. The meter fare for these taxis is more expensive than for regular ones. Moreover, the drivers are quite experienced and able to converse fluently in English.
Special taxis are a new type of taxi service and their fleet consists of luxury mini buses, which are more suitable for families or groups. The extent of their fleet is still smaller, making them slightly more difficult to find on the streets and it is easier to just call for them. Tiara Express is a well-known operator of special taxi and is part of the Express Taxi Company. Stands for Tiara Express can be found at Plaza Senayan.
Blue Bird or Silver Bird
At Jakarta International Airport, there are Silver Bird (which also serve Golden Bird Car and Limousine rental) counters at the arrival halls. You can enquire and book Silverbird fleet from there, but not the regular Blue Bird Taxi. If you prefer to get Blue Bird or other regular taxis, just walk straight outside the arrival hall and look for the taxi ranks with its of taxi company's signage’s. For any taxi you take from the taxi rank, you're expected to pay additional airport surcharge (at maximum Rp11,000 per trip) on top of the fare listed on the meter.
Silver Bird Taxi also has designated taxi stands at most 5-star hotels, up class shopping malls and up class apartments and other properties. If you prefer to get a Blue Bird taxi from these premises, you can approach the taxi attendant/counter or just call the reservation center.
Blue Bird Taxi ranks can be found at major 3-4 star hotels, shopping malls, hospitals, train stations, and office buildings. The taxi rank can be recognized by the signage, taxi attendant in blue vest (for Blue Bird), or both. Express Taxi also has taxi ranks at several locations, but not as much as Blue Bird.
Getting a taxi via reservation center will need you to pay minimum payment (if the fare on the meter is less than the minimum amount).
Taxi Company Reservation Number
Blue Bird Taxi (blue cab) 021-79171234
Silver Bird Taxi (black cab, premium taxi) 021-7981234
Express Taxi (white cab) 021-26509000
Tiara Express (maxi-cab style premium taxi)021-26508000
Transcab (orange cab) 021-58355500