I can’t claim any credit for this information, as it comes from a website that is written by and for expats who live in Jakarta – here is a link to their website. And here is what I found on their website.
Tips for when taking a taxi in Jakarta
- If you can, choose a cab with good reputation (kind of obvious, isn’t it?).
- Take a look at the driver, if you don’t feel safe, wave the tax away before you get in it. There will always be another cab (unless it’s midnight or you’re in a remote part of the city). If you can, take a deep look at the driver’s eyes. If you’re sensitive enough, usually you can feel a threat if there is one. Trust your guts on this, because your life might depend on it.
- There should be a taxi I.D on the dashboard, which contains the taxi’s I.D and the driver’s I.D, complete with the picture. Match the picture with the driver. IF they don’t match get out.
- After you decide to get into the cab, take the seat BEHIND the driver (as opposed to next to the driver). The reasons are:
a. You have the control, because he can’t see you as clearly.
b. There have been cases where someone hides on the trunk (or boot), and comes out to attack the passenger after the taxi is moving. By sitting in the back seat, you can watch the seat next to you. If it begins to open, quickly slam it back shut, and scream at the driver and get out of the taxi as quickly as possible.
- Sit on the left side of the back seat … not behind the driver. There have been cases where the driver pushed his seat back and trapped people sitting right behind him.
- Lock the doors as soon as you get it with a resounding click … this tells the driver in no uncertain terms that you are aware of and knowledgeable about your safety.
- If you do speak Indonesian, chat with the driver a bit so he knows you are not a newcomer and know your way around. They may think all foreigners are unsuspecting, unknowing newcomers and are much less likely to try to rob someone who can demonstrate that they know their way around.
- BEFORE the taxi moves, check your door. Can you open it from inside? If not, tell the driver to stop … and unlock the child’s lock on the inside of the door jam … OR … consider taking a different taxi.
- During the drive, pay attention to where the driver takes you. If he’s driving into a dark, remote area, COMPLAIN RIGHT AWAY. Depending on the reply you get, prepare to act.
- Remember that noise draws crowds quickly. If you are having a problem with a taxi driver – quickly roll down the windows and yell to attract attention. Chances are people will assist you.
- Most of all, use common sense, just as you would in your own home country.
There is a lot more information on their website, so check it out if you intend to travel to Jakarta.