A Local Guide: Taking Train Around Jakarta
July 16th, 2017 / By Oi Meira
The capital city of Jakarta maybe doesn’t exist in your bucket list. As most of the travelers would prefer Bali, Lombok, or Gili Trawangan as their destinations.
Jakarta maybe not a must visit place for some travelers who are into nature and adventures. But this busy, bustling city, offers some interesting places to visit, including the local transportation worth a try.
I’ve met a lot of backpackers from different countries who spent their times around Jakarta. Some great quality yet cheap hostels are popping up in my town. Not only that, even if the traffic situation is very bad, some travelers still love the city along with the down to earth locals.
Indonesia is the 3rd country, that means, everything is cheaper than Europe, Australia, and the USA. But, there are still some backpackers who want to spend less money so they can save up to the next destination. Or, they simply just want to experience the local’s life.
So they start eating on the street, enjoying the food street stalls and take the public transportation. There are buses – – maybe not very comfortable ones – – and angkot, the mini bus alike, similar to tuktuk in Thailand or Jeepney in the Philippines.
But because of the bad traffic in Jakarta, some backpackers want to try train to get around the city, even to go to Bogor, West Java up to the old city, Kota Tua and Rangkas Bitung. Actually, the route connects Bogor – Jakarta Kota – Jatinegara – Bekasi – Tanah Abang – Duri. The whole route is called Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, and Bekasi). This means you can commute around and the outside of the city just by train. Of course, to get to some destinations, you need to transit. But don’t worry, as long as you don’t get out of the station, you do not need to pay more.
Unfortunately, as most of the locals don’t speak English very well, some of the travelers get confused on how to buy the tickets. But don’t worry, taking a train in Jakarta isn’t so difficult like you might imagine.
Where to Take a Train?
To start, you need to get to know where you are right now and find the nearest train station by using Google Map. Once you find it, just go there by online ojek, taxi, angkot, or any other transportation you’re comfortable with.
There are some of the stations that do not serve Jabodetabek route. You can check on the official route map below, published by PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek. The red dots indicate the stations which do not serve Jabodetabek route or it’s where the trains do not stop.
How to Get Around?
On the map above, you can see all the train stations. Point out which station you are at and where you are heading. The stations that have T signs show the transit stations. Those are stations that you can change trains with any different destinations.
Let’s play a little bit. Say you are at Juanda station and you want to go to Jakarta Kota station. It’s easy because you just need to take the train bounds to Jakarta Kota. But, if you are in Juanda and want to go to Bekasi station, you need to go to Manggarai station first and take a train bounds to your destination.
Quick Tips: There are three big stations in the city that serve the Java island route. Those are Gambir, Pasar Senen, and Jakarta Kota station.
Card and Cost
Officially starting on October 1st, 2016, PT KAI has announced a new tariff for Jabodetabek train. The fares vary, depending on the distance. Wait, do you have to count it by yourself? Of course not, here is an image of the price list.
Okay, I know everything on the official poster is in Bahasa Indonesia. Let me help you here to translate it. First, you need to consider which card you need to get. There are two types of it; the Tiket Harian Berjamin (THB) and the Kartu Multi Trip (KMT).
THB can be used as return ticket and be resold or refunded. But this card has a guarantee fee IDR10k. When you’re back to where you were or do not want to use the card anymore, you can resell or refund the card at the ticket booth or the vending machine. So, you will get your 10k back. Oh, remember, this card can be used for a single destination only.
While another card doesn’t, this KMT requires a minimum Saldo Rp12k. It’s a non-refundable, but it has a top up advantage. The card itself costs IDR50k and can add as much money as you want, from IDR5k up to IDR1 million.
Now, the fares! How much does it cost if you want to go to Jakarta Kota from Bogor station? You need to know how far your destination is. The first 25 km costs IDR3k and IDR1k every 10 km further. Okay, this is confusing and no one wants to count how many km from where you are to your destination. Here, you can check the tariff easily. Hint: stasiun awal is the station you are going from and stasiun tujuan is your destination. Easy peasy! I only pay IDR4000 from Depok to Gondangdia every day, it’s cheap.
Taking Train Might be Faster, But…
There are rules that sometimes annoy me. But not so much, just a little. First, people used to be allowed to bring a big bicycle, but not anymore. You’re allowed but the bicycle needs to be foldable or maybe you can just see the direction here, about the size of the thing you’re bringing into the train.
Inside the train, of course, there are some rules that are both written and unwritten. But, people still do it and the security won’t do anything. Chill! I even broke one of the rules; eating on the train!
Why do you think the locals want to take the train around the city? Well, it’s cheap! Also by train, we can avoid the horrible traffic jam in Jakarta. It means the train is way faster than car and bus. But unfortunately, train sometimes get stuck and it makes your day even worse!
The problems vary, from the power cut to the queue train. But this is not the only problem you will get. During rush hour, the train is very packed. You can’t even move. My tips for all the female travelers, get into the special female train which is on the back and front of the railway.
Due to the rush hour, the train could be super congested, but you can avoid this situation by picking the time wisely. Better avoid taking a train around 6-10 am and 4-8 pm. But again, it depends on the situation. These two weeks I have stuck waiting for the empty train while going home to Depok/Bogor area until 10 pm. The train bounds to Bogor, Jatinegara, and Bekasi tends to be packed in the evening on workdays.
Even if you still can breathe, I suggest avoiding the rush hour while taking any public transportations. Taking train can be fun and can be used as a trick to cut your expenses while you’re in Jakarta. But, I think it won’t be fun anymore if you cannot enjoy the journey. Oh, while thinking where you’re going to by train today, why not consider these affordable hostels to stay in the city? You will get a discount if you’re using this search box on the side bar to book accommodation. Also, I will get rewarded if you book a room using either this link, here or a search box. Happy traveling around Jakarta!