Indonesia: A Country with Extraordinary Taxis

Conventional, Traditional, and Conditional Taxis.

There are different kinds of taxis in Indonesia, those taxis operate in all areas of the country, ranging from big cities up to villages. In general taxis in Indonesia can be divided into three groups: Conventional, Traditional, and Conditional taxis.

Conventional taxi :

I call it a conventional taxi, also known taxicab, because this is the most common type of taxi that most people, even people all around the word, are familiar with, this taxi is a car with a driver whom you pay to take you somewhere. Conventional taxis operate mainly in big cities and the fare/tarif is based on the distance or length of time people use their service. Some taxi companies charge their passengers more expensive fares due to their better services, like offering more interior comfort and using more luxurious cars (premium taxi).

Traditional Taxis

Besides conventional taxi, some unconventional taxis also operate in Indonesia and they have become unique icons of this country too. I’d rather call these taxis as traditional taxis, they include Motorcycle, Becak and Becak Motor (Pedicabs), bicycle, Bajaj or Kancil, Carriages, River, up to Umbrella Taxis.

1. Motorcycle taxi :

Motorcycle taxi, locally called Ojek, is actually unofficial taxi driven by a driver with whom you negotiate for the fare before you agree to use his service. The negotiable fare is basically determined by the distance of your destination, for short to medium distance of around 5 km it costs about 5000 rupiahs (+/- 0.5 dollar) . Motorcycle taxi can be found in many cities in western java and anywhere in Jakarta city, it looks just like other common motorcycles, you’ll notice whether it is a motorcycle taxi or not when the driver signals an offer (normally by giving upward index finger or yelling “Ojek ?” ), and, off course they’re always noticeable on standby at corners of intersections who mostly wear jackets.

Using motorcycle taxi offers some advantages too. An experienced Ojek driver can maneuver briskly in congested street so that you can reach your destination faster than if you take a conventional taxi. As an alternative transport in coping with traffic jam in a big city like Jakarta, motorcycle taxi or ojek is reliable even some ministers sometimes have to ride it if their cars could move nowhere but stuck in traffic congestion.In term of cost the negotiable fare is worth bargaining since it can make a lot of difference compared to conventional taxi fare.


Motorcycle taxi drivers on standby


2. B a j a j.

Bajaj is a three-wheeled vehicle which is named after its manufacturer in India. This kind of transport began to operate in Jakarta city to replace another three wheeled-pedicab . Bajaj is also driven by a driver and allowed to operate only at the outskirts of Jakarta city. It’s easily recognized due to its color predominantly orange, noisy, emits a lot of smokes , and very shaky . Because of the last reason too riding bajaj is not recommended for pregnant woman. Bajaj fare is also negotiable, short to midium distance may cost around 10,000 rupiahs (around 1 US$).


 4. Becak – Pedicabs.

Pedicabs in Indonesia can be found in two kinds, first man-powered pedicab or locally called Becak, and motorized pedicab.or known as Becak Motor.

Becak is an old mode of transport in this country. In many cities in Indonesia becak has so many “big fans” because of some reasons: the fare is very economical (3000 to 5000 rupiahs for medium distance), environmental friendly, source of income for thousand of people, and people ride it because of sentimental reasons too when they want to date back to the old days in their lives. But in unfriendly city like Jakarta, becak has been banned and shifted its operation to suburban areas of the city especially at housing complexes. Thousand of becaks had been dumped into Jakarta seas to be made breeding places for fish and clams.

Yogjakartan pedicabs
Malang pedicabs, look slimmer and lighter to pedal.


5. Becak Motor (Motorized Pedicab).

This transport is a combination of Becak and Motorcycle so that it’s called Betor. Betor mainly operates in some cities in Sumatra although sometimes those cities modified their betor that make them look different from other betors.

A Medan betor.


6. Delman/Andong/Kereta Kuda (Horse-drawn Carriage)

Delman or Andong or Kereta Kuda is a local name of Indonesian horse-drawn carriage. This is another old kind of transport in Indonesia, almost all provinces in Java and sumatra, and Bali use this transport for tradition conservation, business as well as for tourism. Yogjakarta and Cirebon are among cities which consider some of their carriages sacred because of their historical roles.Many small cities in Indonesia also still prevent Delman as traditional transport. This transport is cheap, close to common people, and entertaining too. Some cities have different characters of their Delman.

Andong, one of the most favorite transports in Yogjakarta.
 7. River Taxi.

River taxi operates only in some areas of the country. Provinces with many wide rivers like Kalimantan and Sumatra have river taxis supporting people’s daily activities. People who live at some parts of Ciliwung river in Jakarta also run river taxi, used either as a taxi or just as a pontoon, although only people at the surroundings who make use of this transport.

a river taxi in Jakarta

8. Bicycle Taxi.

This is a unique taxi which is available only in Northern Jakarta and an icon of the area as well.

Thanks to people who make a living from pedalling bicycle taxi including it’s loyal consumers/users so that this taxi is still conserved untill today. We can say that bicycle taxi benefits both sides, the driver and its environment, since it’s healthful and no polluting gas spewed. With low fare it charges (medium distance for around 5000 to 10,000 rupiahs ) bicycle taxi is also “pocket friendly”.

A Long-life taxi: bicycle Taxis.

Conditional Taxi.

Umbrella Taxi (Ojek Payung).

You may doubt it as a taxi, but those umbrella taxi “drivers” (who are mostly teenagers) really offer their service in helping you not get wet under the rain. The basic difference of their service is that they only serve short distance and they get payment based on customers’ generosity, just for your tip: to reach buildings in the vicinities for 1 to 5 thousand rupiahs is reasonable . They belong to informal sectors, they need the rewards partially for supporting family’s income and the rest is for their pocket money, indeed they help others stay dry and fit under the rain (even some people have a saying : “One umbrella taxi on a rainy day keeps the doctor away”).

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