They say that to fully experience a different country, you must explore it by taking its local transportation. Let me take you for a ride to the streets of Jakarta, Indonesia and share with you one of my first Diva Discoveries.
BLUE BIRD TAXI
Owned and operated by the Blue Bird Group, the Blue Bird taxi is a common fixture in the streets of Jakarta and rightfully so because it comes highly recommended by everyone in town. They’ve earned their good reputation of being safe, honest, efficient and reliable. You can get picked up anytime anywhere too! I mean, the kind of pick up where you make a call or send SMS then they’ll be at your doorstep. They also have the posh Silver Bird Executive Class, the black Mercedes Benz E-Class series. Wish I could try it someday… when I do my groceries maybe?🙂
In lieu of a metro train, they have the TransJakarta which is a Bus Rapid System (BRS) launched in 2004. It works as our regular MRT (Metro Rail Transit) i.e. it has designated pick-up and drop off stations (shelter) where the tickets can be bought too. The seats face the aisle to accommodate more passengers and are likewise equipped with built-in speakers announcing the shelter names in Indonesian and English languages. The buses run on special lanes separated by concrete blocks. I have a feeling these special lanes are only special on specific time of the day, I often see other cars (including our own) navigating through these designated lanes.
I’ve never seen this much motorcycles in the streets before, they literally swarm the Jakarta roads! The first time I saw them I thought there was a motorcycle parade or something :) And unlike in the Philippines where I see mostly men ride them, EVERYBODY uses it here. Women executives, mothers bringing their kids to school, a very old man buying his meds, a young boy on his way to deliver lunch packs, an entire family of five who has gone shopping (well, this one is a common site in Manila too hehe). And as a sheer display of multi-tasking, they can do other tasks while riding their motorcycles i.e. smoking, texting, and talking on the phone.
I guess by now you’ve heard about the infamous traffic situation in Jakarta. Well, where there’s a problem lies a solution. Ladies and gentlemen…. Presenting, the motorcycle taxi also known as the Ojek! Everyday you’ll see students, executives, locals and foreigners take this mode of transportation. Oh the convenience it gives. You know how motorcycles can “fill in the blanks” weaving through the roads, right? I bet you’ll make it to your appointment on time, dead or alive. Just a few tips should you decide to ride one:
1. Avoid wearing white. Unless you can pull off that I-attracted-all-of-Jakarta’s-smog look.
2. Bring some cologne. You still would want to smell fresh when you get to your destination, wouldn’t you?
3. Bring your own helmet. Go figure🙂
Once in a while you’ll chance upon one of Indonesia’s traditional transportation vehicles, the bajaj. Equally popular in India, the bajaj is Indonesia’s counterpart to Thailand’s Tuk-tuk and the Philippines’ Tricycle. It can seat up to five passengers… well, depending on their sizes of course. They can operate on designated areas only and are not allowed to use the main roads. Hence, the ride may be circuitous at times but could be great if you’re up for an adventure.
I hope you enjoyed the ride. Stay tuned for more as I make more discoveries in this amazing city.