gregorius distra profile picture gregorius distra 5 years ago 2
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Owning and Driving a Car in Jakarta

Hello Car Throttle, nice to meet all of you. I’m a new guy here. I live in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, and I would like to tell you how hard it is to own and drive a car around here. I hope it is not boring for you though. I wrote this post honestly, but I hope it is not quite offensive if there is an Indonesian Car Throttle member who reading this.

Earning a driver’s license
First of all, you need a driver’s license. You could take a test for it, or with a bribe of 1 million IDR (around US$ 100 or 63 pound) you could get one and you are ready to cruising around Jakarta. I didn’t know does it works for expats, but an international driver’s license probably works.

Buying a car
In Indonesia, cheap japanese cars such as Toyota Avanza (or Daihatsu Xenia), Nissan Evalia ( or NX200) ,Honda Mobilio and Suzuki Ertiga (or Mazda VX-1) are more popular than european make and american make because they are cost you more money. Japanese cars are cheaper here because the cars are assembled here, including the spare parts. But some japanese cars must imported as a complete car and may cost you a fortune here, such as Prius, Camry, Land Cruiser, GT-R, GT-86. and so on. A Toyota Prius cost around 635 million IDR (around US$ 48,000 or 36,000 pound) and considered as a luxury car. A BMW M2 will cost you 1.399 billion IDR ( around US$ 106,800 or 81,000 pound) It happened because car purchase tax in Indonesia is quite high and it’s not including the annual tax you need to pay.

YES, it is a luxury car in Jakarta and it is rare to find (image from Top Gear)
YES, it is a luxury car in Jakarta and it is rare to find (image from Top Gear)

Most Indonesian has a stereotype that european cars are luxurious cars. So if you are driving a Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen (any type, model, and year), you’re still considered as a rich person, and people will call you “boss”.
It is also difficult to find 90’s - early 2000’s japanese sports car (Skylines, Supras, Evos, STis, S2000s, and other JDM heroes). Even if it for sale, it is still very expensive, and very rare. Two doors sedan are also considered as sports car.
If you want to buy a supercar such as a Ferrari 488 GTB, a Lamborghini Huracan, or a Aston Martin Vanquish, I suggest to think again mate, and you must as rich as richie rich to buy one because it may cost you double the price, and you only able to drive it out only at sunday morning and holidays.
Hybrids and electric cars are not popular here.
But SUV will do the job well done because some road condition in Jakarta is.. umm…

Running cost
it is quite similar to any other countries. The petrol and diesel here cost around 7800 IDR to 9000 IDR per litre, depends the octane it has and which petrol station you go. There are RON90, RON92, RON95, and RON98 (recently added), and you have some options of petrol station such as Pertamina (government owned), Shell, and Total. But the RON98 only sold by Pertamina.

Road condition
In most main roads, you will find a nice asphalt road. But in some areas it looks like this.. We don’t use 3D pot hole stickers to slow drivers down, we use REAL pot holes. Thank you poor quality asphalt.

So, still want to buy a supercar here?
So, still want to buy a supercar here?

Traffic Jams
If you are living in New York, Los Angeles, or London, or any other cities that has bad traffic jams, you must be grateful. At least your traffic are much better than us. I have to face this every weekdays. Actually Jakarta has the worst traffic jam in the world. Once, an Aventador blows out it’s glorious V12 because of this. If all human are the same in the eyes of God, then all cars are the same in the eyes of Jakarta.

This is living nightmare
This is living nightmare

Traffic violation
It happens every day, no one cares about signs, buses stops everywhere (except Transjakarta buses), pedestrian crossing everywhere and I just give you some of them. The possibilities are endless

Are you getting confused now which way to go?
Are you getting confused now which way to go?
Our faith is stronger than our helmets, and a motorcycle could be used for three! (in fact these kids don't have a license)
Our faith is stronger than our helmets, and a motorcycle could be used for three! (in fact these kids don't have a license)
Where on earth I shall walk across the road
Where on earth I shall walk across the road

Motorbikes and scooters
Motorbikes with centrifugal clutch are annoying sometimes because when a traffic jam occurs, they will go to escape the traffic by any means, but scooter riders are the worst (especially if women riding on it). If you come to Jakarta, you will know why. It’ll make you speechless. I even can’t explain it. But buying a motorbike could be a dilemma here. If you own a small engine bikes (110cc-150cc), the chance of getting stolen is pretty high. If you own a big bikes, such as Kawasaki ZX636R, Yamaha MT-09, or a Harley Davidson (250cc and up), people will think you are arrogant. (I own one, so I know how it feels). Yes, 250cc bikes are considered as big bikes.

The law of nature is still exist
I will try to make this simple:
If you are driving a car and accidently bumped to a scooter, you are wrong
If you are driving a car and a scooter accidently bumped you, you are still wrong

Well, I think that’s all I could tell. But if you come to Jakarta, I hope you enjoy your stay because although it is very crowded, it is a very colorful city, and the food is great.