Taxi has always been chosen as the most comfortable public transportation, other than the bullet train like in Japan or Tram in England.
It’s a car, it’s relatively cheap, it feels somewhat luxurious, and it’s convenient.
We also have taxi in Indonesia. In fact, there are many brands of taxis. A developing country with 250 million people with no taxi is ridiculous.
But out of so many brands of taxis, do you know which one to choose?
Because there are other things to be considered beside the service and the fare, such as the argometer and the safety. (Your safety and your wallet safety)
There are two brands that I will talk about here because these two, Blue Bird and Express, are the safest ones with the best service. Take these two brands if you are choosing to go with a taxi. Other than these, take your own risk. Besides, most drivers of these two brands are able to speak English a little.
For Blue Bird, opening the door and confirming that you are riding the taxi will cost you IDR 6.000 ($ US 0,6), going for 1 km costs IDR 3.000 ($ US 0,3), and if you want them to wait, it will cost you IDR 30.000 ($ US 3) per hour.
Now, the service. You can call them 24/7 to go to a designated place. Their service areas are Jakarta, Bali, Bandung, Banten, Batam, Lombok, Medan, Manado, Palembang, Padang, Pekanbaru, Semarang, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and they are still expanding. Their AC is always on and they always use the argometer. They also have services for logistic transportation or mass transportation.
For Express, they used to have cheaper fare than the Blue Bird but now they have the same fare.
For all the good things, there must also be bad things. You have to know that there are some ‘naughty’ taxis. When you get in, they don’t want to use the argometer but a specific price.
You must reject this and ask to use the argometer whenever possible because there is a high chance that you are getting a marked-up price.
You actually only need to spend, say, IDR 50.000 ($ US 5) but you are offered the marked-up price like IDR 100.000 ($ US 10).
Tourists and expatriates are the most targeted people since they don’t know the real distance.
Furthermore, some of the ‘naughty’ taxis which use their argometer might have it tampered. For example, from the actual IDR 50.000 ($ US 5) can go to IDR 75.000 ($ US 7,5).
Even if it’s not tampered, they might choose the longer route just to have higher fare.
For your wallet safety, the wallet is safe but the inside is not always safe.
When you have arrived at your destination and you want to pay, the taxi driver does not always have a change.
For example, the argometer shows IDR 87.900 ($ US 8,8). Then, since you just changed your currency to IDR (Indonesian Rupiah), you only have IDR 50.000 ($ US 5) and IDR 100.000 ($ US 10).
So, you will need to give the driver IDR 100.000 ($ US 10), and the change will be IDR 12.100 ($ US 1,2).
Nowadays in Indonesia, IDR 100 ($ US 0,01) is not used anymore so you can omit it and think of it as giving money to charity.
That leaves you with the IDR 12.000 ($ US 1,2). But as I said before, lying or not, they don’t always have the change. Even if they do have, it will not make up to the IDR 12.000 ($ US 1,2)
I know this is frustrating but just offer them to keep the change.
There is no better solution to this than having a local friend who, of course, is the most familiar of getting around in his or her own country.
(See this video below about the Blue Bird taxi)
(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)