To Get A Police Convoy, Or Not To Get A Police Convoy… That Is The Question

As I wrote about earlier, I’m very excited to be headed to Jakarta soon in Garuda Indonesia first class, thanks to an incredible fare sale they have at the moment.

Call me crazy, but when I thought of visiting Jakarta, the first thing that came to mind was getting a police escort from the airport to the city. Some of you may remember that early last year I wrote about how you can hire a police convoy in Jakarta for a fairly reasonable price. Traffic in Jakarta is apparently among the worst in the world, though this is a way to greatly reduce travel time.

The service is offered by a guy named Eric, who describes it as follows:

We arrange police outrider escorts in Jakarta for airport transfers or journeys around the city.  This service is for very important foreign business visitors.  It is safe, status and productivity enhancing, and extremely practical. It will halve the journey times between meetings.

1 or 2 motorbikes are provided for this Police Licensed service allowing them access & parking where they need, including VIP spots at the airport and at hotel lobbies.

Our driver has been trained by this group in fast and safe convoy driving techniques. The vehicle used is deliberately unobtrusive, but is new and has been retrofitted with sirens, radio scanners and USA Whelen Engineering emergency lights. If a special vehicle is required it will be added to the convoy as the second car.

The benefits of a Police Escort in Jakarta are 1. journey time in normal traffic is halved: 2. you will make more meetings and still catch your flight; 3. your car may park and wait in the VIP hotel / office and VIP Airport parking bays; 4. your status in eyes of local partners is raised; and 5. the police remain in contact with their HQ to adjust routes in the event of traffic or security concerns.

In case you’re skeptical, here are a couple of videos of what it’s like to drive with Eric:

On one hand I feel like I can’t go to Jakarta and not try this. At the same time, the “issue” is that I’m flying Garuda Indonesia first class, which comes with a complimentary airport transfer.

garuda-indonesia-limousine-service

The cost isn’t just the incremental difference between the cost of a normal chauffeur service and this premium one, but rather just the entire cost of this transfer, since it would otherwise be included.

Furthermore, it seems like the price of this service has gone up since last year. Last year there were reports suggesting that the service cost $199 one-way.

So, how much is this service now? I just emailed Eric (the guy who provides it), and got the following response:

This starts from a special VIP parking zone at the airport to an office or hotel, or the other way round. This VIP airport transfer is for important foreign visitors on a tight schedule or meeting important local clients or government officials.  We use a specially equipped vehicle with US engineered sirens, security lights and radio scanners.  It is escorted all the way by one or two Police Motorbikes who have trained the driver in convoy driving.  The transfer between Airport and CBD is very fast with two outriders, even at busy rush hour times.. The service can also be arranged for “as directed” or “at disposal” services around town. A brochure is available on request.  2 minute video clip: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WqGsHJsBpHc

Cost of airport transfer in a special Custom MPV:

  • with one police outrider USD249 per way
  • with two police outriders USD298 per way

On one hand that’s a lot of money, on the other hand if it does in fact cut the travel time in half (I’ve heard the transfer can take two hours otherwise), and if it’s a memorable experience, maybe it’s worth it as a one time thing? To me this would be much more exciting than splurging on a Bentley transfer, or something.

I’m really torn here, because I’ve been telling myself I’ll be doing this when I visit Jakarta, but the increased cost and the fact that I get a free transfer anyway are making me second guess myself.

What do you guys think?

Comments

  1. Too much, three years ago I set up police escort [albeit without the car service] in South Florida for either $300 or $500. You might be surprised how doable this is…!

  2. Depends on your departure time. On weekends, or early in the morning, you will be able to get to the airport in under 1 hour from the CBD. During rush hours, generally 8:30am to 10:30am and 5pm to 8pm, it can be 2 hours. maybe 1 hour + for afternoon and late evening. A Garuda transfer should be efficient enough and anyways, you can get work done in the car right? 🙂

  3. See if you can cut out the car portion as you have the complimentary service and negotiate the escort rate down?

  4. I dunno, it just sort of seems off to me that this business can operate with real policemen, when you’re not in any real danger if you take a normal car service. Police should protect people who are in real danger, and whizzing through traffic while everyone else is going the normal pace just seems very DYKWIA. It just feels too much like cutting in line because you have money. That’s fine in an airport if you’re flying first class, because it’s a very specific setting in which those are the rules and everyone knows it, but doing it out in the real world just feels entitled.

  5. Why not just shoot a video lighting money on fire? You have mobile wifi via your data plan so it’s not like you can’t work in the car in traffic.

  6. That, or you can get an Uber for $4. It did take about 50min in the mid-afternoon traffic to get to the Grand Hyatt, and my driver fell asleep at one point, but it’s an option….

  7. Nothing screams white privilege as much as thinking your leisure trip is so important that you need to make the common natives pull over and delay them from getting to their jobs so that you can feel more important. Its very selfish.

  8. @Imperator; since I am not the poor sap stuck in traffic a little longer because Lucky needs to get to his hotel to sit in the executive lounge, using it will not irritate me in the least. But it is selfish.

  9. I’m from Indonesia and these police escorts are way cheaper than it is given by Eric, the last time I have been escort with the police it cost Rp 500,000 for a one way with 1 police motorcycle. Using my own car that is.

  10. Hi, great website btw.

    This whole idea makes me feel uneasy. The idea that you can pay the actual real police force just to give you a hand through traffic, without some objective justification (e.g. you are a dignitary, or there is some public safety / order justification), seems very odd. Scarce public resources being diverted for private interests just so long as a price is paid. In a country with higher standards of governance, this would be considered straightforward police corruption. Doesn’t really make it any better that it is being publicly advertised for sale (and so can therefore be taken as having been permitted by the authorities) – in fact it makes it worse as it advertises the fact the police are for sale.

    But that’s all criticisms of the police and not Lucky. Can see why it would be tempting.

  11. @Imperator
    How is Mark F’s comment smug? For calling Lucky what he most obviously is? It seems to me like Lucky’s narcissistic need to feel important and special at every turn is much higher on the smug scale. But hey, do whatever you want with your money, Lucky. If a country values their citizens’ time so cheaply then that is there problem.

  12. I echo MEOW’s comment – Eric runs a tight ship. Last visit to Jakarta last year we were met by four (FOUR!) people at door 1L (flew in via KE 777 in 1st class) at the gate. They escort you to fast track literally everything (they’re exceptionally chatty and friendly, too), handle all luggage (from conveyor to car), car is outside waiting for you to exit. We didn’t do the police escort though. CGK is an airport that really stresses me out. Can’t recommend Eric enough.

    In terms of the police escort, part of me agrees with Mark F. in that you would disrupt others for a non-urgent joyride, however the cool factor is a real thing. So let us know what you decide and if you do it, write it up!!!!!

  13. You do realize after you making a lot of speculation about others’ corruption and about how people are treated, this is a direct sponsor to the opposite of value you claim you believe in, right?

  14. @Joshua where does one arrange this for that price? (If you prefer, is there a way to contact you offline?)

  15. Wait till you experience Jakarta traffic… this stops being an absurdity and becomes a necessity, trust me.

    Have you figured out where you’re staying in Jakarta Lucky? I recommend the Keraton Plaza, a fantastic Luxury Collection property. Stayed there over NYE and it was fab.

  16. Yeah, kinda tacky and elitist. Has pretty direct negative externalities for other drivers. No real need to arrive somewhere quickly. I’d say probably don’t do it…

    Very few of us are as important as we think we are.

  17. @WR, to be clear, I didn’t call Lucky anything. I simply said that the action would be selfish and privileged. But if @Imperator wants to spend a bunch of money in order to irritate me, instead of having Lucky take a police escort, Imperator could really piss me off by sending me $300. I would be very irritated. If it was $400, I would even be more irritated…..and so on.

  18. “I’d do it just to irritate the @Mark F. (and Eric and Evan) types with their insufferable smugness.” 🙂

    And despite what Mark F. may say, knowing that Lucky did this will in fact irritate the heck out of him. But then again, just knowing that Lucky is white, and doesn’t feel ashamed of it, is probably irritating him already. 😉

  19. @Mark F @Eric
    This is a service. If somebody is selling that you can buy it. And I really couldn’t care less about the locals tbh, it’s not my fault that their government is so corrupt it allows this. Sorry folks, tough luck. And I would gladly enjoy the ride.

  20. @Grzegorz: “And I really couldn’t care less about the locals ”

    Pretty much the definition of white privilege. At least you own it.

  21. Please… we’re flying in planes seated in giant reclining chairs, enjoying champagne… a police escort is not a tremendous departure. Everyone should strive to be able to afford such things.

    Ben… do this. Worthy of a review, for sure.

  22. Indonesia is a wonderful country with one of the worst goverments out there. Only a country like this can offer something as hiring policemen. Skip Jakarta, and fly from CKG to Yogyakarta to see Borobudur.

  23. The traffic in Jakarta is now just awful, and not horrific like it was until recently. They just started an odd/even license plate scheme to limit the number of cars on the road.

  24. @Ed spot on re timing. My trip having lived and visited there many times is just make sure you have a comfortable ride.

    An escort can be ‘hailed’ with 100USD from any traffic police if you indeed get stuck.

  25. Please do it. This is a heck of a deal!
    Where else in the world you are going to try something like that???
    You’re not crazy. You will be crazy if you don’t take advantage of this.
    And please make a video of it!

  26. @Grzegorz, you sound about as selfish and immoral as one can be. “This is a service. If somebody is selling that you can buy it.” What’s next for you? Child prostitution is very much a service that’s sold, are you gonna buy that too?

    Unbelievable how immoral and entitled some people are

    @Mark F I’m totally with you on this one!

  27. +1 for Mark F.

    This service is obviously not above board. The payment will simply be used to line the pockets of ‘Eric’ and the Police Officers who are meant to be out serving the Jakarta public.

    Furthermore, if the traffic is that bad then are you really going to make it that much worse for everyone else just because you want a cool/fun experience.

    When I first read the article I thought, ‘do it’, and it would make for a good read, but having read the very valid comments I realise that this is quite socially unjust. I don’t think you should buy into the abuse of public services at the expense of the Indonesian taxpayer.

  28. So does the complimentary airport transfer apply if you’re flying TO Jakarta on a one-way itinerary? Seems like that way from the fine print.

  29. You would just attract un needed attention. Go during off times and traffic isn’t too bad. I take Silverbird and always find it safe

  30. I am not from Indonesia but live close enough to know the people get a raw deal. For you it is a cheap (or, at least, affordable) thrill, but if you do take up this offer, all you are doing is feeding the corruption culture in Indonesia. If these officers were not escorting you, they will be deployed to do real police work (that actually benefits their comunity).

    I have been pressured to give bribes to the police/immigration offficers many times in Indonesia but have always refused to bow to pressure. This is because while it settles minor conveniences, it is the average Indonesian who pay the price for this.

    I’ll let you ponder on this.

  31. For those whining about ‘burning money’ and ‘white privilege’ do you realize this is his job, his career, how he makes the money you’re so wound up about.

    Lucky, if it will add to your experience and your blog about the trip, then go for it. If it isn’t going to be a worthwhile expenditure because of the time of day you’re traveling (light traffic anyway) then skip it. Or split the difference and do it one way and negotiate it down to an amount that is reasonable, like $150-175.

  32. There is precisely a 0% chance I’d fly to CGK and *not* take advantage of this. You can smugly call me a selfish American elitist, that’s fine by me. I’ll wave at you as I zoom by in my *police escort!* Seriously, though, the combined individual delay caused by this thing is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-4 seconds, maybe less. Let’s not make mountains out of molehills.

    Looking forward to the review; just the ticket to cap off the long-awaited GA F review.

  33. OH, and for those going on about how people are hiring police officers for their personal use and how that is such an abomination of government resources do you realize that pretty much every single entertainer hires policemen to work security for them right here in North America? Yep, police officers can work when they are off duty, OMG. smh

  34. @Andrey

    You can do stuff like this in a lot of US cities. It’s mostly done for funeral processions and the like though.

  35. To subsidize corruption or not to subsidize corruption?

    To bribe cops or not to bribe cops??

    To be cynical or not to be cynical???

    This post is gross.

    For all the commenters supporting it, think how you would feel if this service were available for a tidy sum from your local PD in your local town. On your local streets.

  36. I lived in Jakarta for a few years, and we always used police escorts for VIPs (I was at the US Embassy) to dramatically increase the efficiency of the trip amongst such terrible traffic. However, given that you don’t appear to have important meetings in Jakarta, it seems like a waste of your money and of the police’s resources.

  37. omg, just google about hiring an off duty police officer. One of the first hits is from the city of Phoenix telling you HOW to hire them. Seriously, get over yourselves. Every concert you’ve ever gone to had the ‘talent’ driven to the venue via police escort. Anyone can hire police for just about any reason and it’s OK.

    Stop being naive.

  38. Go ahead and try it. People like Eric and many, many others (who are less well versed in English) are doing it all the time and in fact anyone with the money can arrange it. And for the holier-than-thou people out there, just remember: these police forces are not well funded and anything they could do to get some extra funding to do what you deem to be “real” police work, helps the public at large. It’s not ideal, but it’s not evil for sure.

    Oh, and it is absolutely legal: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/08/19/getting-a-police-escort-fair-game-anyone.html

  39. I’ve had Police escorts here in the US. For some reason it costs more to have them doing the escorting behind you.

  40. Hey Lucky, I rode in an escort car in Beijing (complete with lights/siren) during thick traffic pre-olympics and it definitely makes for a memorable and expedient experience!!

  41. Holy freaking crap – I’m SO doing this. On the way to CGK at the end of December. I’ve asked that I get the same music as the videos above. I’ll let you know how long it takes to get from the Airport to the Ritz Mega (I’d stay at a Trump Hotel, but there isn’t one in Jakarta…yet.).

  42. Do it! The review (and a video) would be awesome!

    You’ll disrupt other drivers for the 5-10 seconds it takes for them to pull over and and then pull back in again. Maybe a few seconds longer in stop-start traffic. Just don’t be like the other commenters on here who make out like they’re they champion of rush hour driver rights in Jakarta…

  43. Hi Lucky

    As a citizen of Jakarta, I understand that you are probably scared or put off by the awful traffic in my city. Everybody is like that regardless whether you are a local or a foreigner. It takes away productive time, it consumes energy, it adds stress being stuck in traffic, and it is just not a pleasant experience at all. However, despite that, millions of Jakartans from all levels, all kinds of commuters, have to go through the traffic jam every single day. Having said that, I would like to offer you some points to dissuade you from having a police convoy:
    1. It does not take a college degree to deduce that this service provided by Eric is in grey area. I am not fully aware whether it is illegal or it is legal (My hunch is saying this is illegal) . However, it is clear that since you are not a government official from certain level who is provided this facility, you are not an official dignitary or a state guest, you are not an ambassador or foreign diplomat, etc you do not have the need to be protected and escorted through the traffic. What Eric does is probably utilizes his connection with some high-ranking police and strike a deal with him/her and in the end Eric will share the profit.

    2. I have seen a lot of articles in your blog where you raised some moral issues or at times you took strong stance not to be involved in shady practices or bribery, etc. Having said that, why are you still wondering whether you should get a police convoy or not knowing that (with high probability) this convoy involves bribery to the local police?

    3. Part of being in Jakarta is to experience demonstration, flooding, and traffic jam. So why not immerse in it and join the locals? You might be surprised with that. You also mention that you have the service from GA. Just make a good full use of it 🙂 Just take the advice from posters before me regarding the specific time frame to avoid and you’ll be fine.

    cheers!

  44. Lucky, that $200-300 goes directly to the pockets of the generals. There is no legal way to get a police escort for civilians unless you’re a government official or guest of the government. Don’t do it. As cool as it sounds, you will promote corruption.

  45. Lucky,
    Why all the horrible music playing? We can see the video WITHOUT all the garbage NOISE !
    This is becoming more and more common in our western society. You go into a Starbucks, Panera or whatever and the music (if you can call it that) is blaring. Nobody is listening to it. Everybody is engaged in conversation or they are reading their morning newspaper or electronic device.
    We should not be conformed to the world and it’s deceptive ways of controlling our ways and what we think about.
    How about a little peace and quiet in our hectic day and enjoying our food and fellowship?

  46. really disappointed at this post. I’m local Jakartan and and it sucks to make a way for convoy while you’re stuck at traffic, moreover when it is a foreigner that actually do not have any emergency situation, just for the lolz.

    pathetic.

  47. May i ask why are you so proud to support local corruption in Indonesia? These police guys are normal officers who just wanna earn “extra” money instead doing the regular Police work…

  48. My question is, what car are you transported in with this service? I’d rather a LWB saloon ie Merc S-Class/7-Series than a Van…

  49. I wouldn’t really feel comfortable doing it but I’m not Ben.

    @ Mark F. You have every right to feel aggrieved but using loaded terms like ‘white privilege’ just make it look like you are trolling for comments.

  50. @Lucky

    As much as I love OMAAT, I don’t typically wade into the comments sections (as entertaining as the contents can often be) because they can be minefields of opinions. However, I’m making an exception in this case because I have the misfortune of actually residing in Jakarta, and I’d like to offer a local perspective on police escorts.

    There appear to be two general factors affecting your decision on whether or not to use the police escort: 1) Cost, and 2) the morality of paying a government employee to serve your personal needs. I’ll go into slightly greater detail below, but first a preface:

    Jakarta does indeed have some of the world’s worst traffic. I can’t find the actual article to quote, but I have read census estimates that between the year 2000 and 2010, the number of motorized vehicles on the roads of Jakarta rose by 2,000%, while the road infrastructure grew by 2%. I can’t find that article, so I will use some data provided in a Jakarta Globe article from 2009 (http://jakartaglobe.id/archive/too-many-vehicles-too-few-roads/): 1.25 million people go in and out of Jakarta every day, all of whom are transported by 1.5 million registered motorized vehicles; however, the roadway capacity is only sufficient for 1 million motorized vehicles (I keep repeating “motorized” because horse-drawn buggies and human powered carts still co-exist with motorized vehicles here). That was in 2009, so the numbers are definitely higher. Since then the government’s solution has been to encourage a shift to the use of public transportation, and while the government has made monumental efforts in creating a viable public transportation ecosystem, they are still years (if not decades) away from seeing real results from their efforts. Which means that even more motorcycles and cars are registered each day, with de minimis road infrastructure growth. TLDR: Jakarta’s motorized vehicle population exceeds it’s infrastructure capacity, i.e., bad. To give you an example of how bad, one of my worst experiences was being stuck in traffic for 2.5 hours during a torrential downpour in order to cover a distance of 500 meters (~1,640 feet). I would have walked had the flood water not been hip deep.

    This problem has given rise to creative solutions to minimizing time spent in traffic for those who can afford it, namely police escorts. Which brings us back to the two general factors mentioned above.

    Cost: The costs quoted in your article by your contact for a police escort including the use of a car (as long as it is a Toyota Alphard) are within reason. For comparison, flagging down a Silverbird taxi at the airport for a ride to the Hotel Indonesia Circle area should cost you at the most IDR350,000 (~US$26) on the meter (including tolls). That money gets you a current (if your nickname rings true) or last (if not) generation Toyota Alphard minivan, sans police escort (so you can see where the money goes to).

    Comparatively speaking, Garuda’s limousine service appears to use a last generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class (based on their press material); however, in-terminal services such as having a personal escort from the air-bridge to the car (and vice-versa) are included (whereas it appears this is an option with your contact).

    That said, my advice is to make sure you get yourself an Alphard (both Silverbird and Tiara Express are safe companies to use); make use of the toilet at the back of Garuda’s Premium Arrival and Baggage Collection Lounge (there is a shower in there as well, though it can get pretty nasty) just in case the ride is a long one; and just veg out in the back of the Alphard until you get to your destination. GA87 arrives at 17:05, which means you should expect a 40 minute trip to the Hotel Indonesia Circle area on a normal weekday (the recently imposed odd-even license plate number scheme seems to be working out fairly well, and vehicles with a yellow plate such as registered taxis are not restricted by the scheme).

    Finally, on to the more controversial factor…

    Morality: Indonesia is a Third World nation. There is no denying that fact, and there is no denying that things work differently here than in an industrialized nation. Case in point, you can hire a government employee to perform services for you, for which both the government employee and yourself derive personal benefit (he gets non-taxable money on top of his salary, and you get to save time). At its root, that arrangement is corruption facilitated by bribery – no two ways about it. While the point of my comment is not to contemplate the moral correctness of your conundrum, I will leave you with two anecdotes:

    1) Indonesia is a democracy in its infancy, which means that political instability is inherent. A perfect example of this is the recent mass demonstrations in October against the incumbent Governor of Jakarta who is planning on running for re-election and has been accused of religious blasphemy by hardliners. Without getting into too much detail, there were more demonstrations planned for the 25th of November, and there are further demonstrations planned for the 2nd of December. The heart of every demonstration that takes place in Jakarta is the Hotel Indonesia Circle (where, among others, the Kempinski, Grand Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental, Keraton and Pullman hotels are located). A police escort in this sort of a situation will only draw attention to yourself (not a good idea), and if you get caught in a mob I can guarantee you that no amount of money will persuade your police escorts to lay down their lives for yours.

    2) For a variety of reasons, all of which are too detailed to go into here, Indonesians have minimal respect for the authority wielded by police officers in today’s social climate. In situations where it will count (e.g., point 1), people are less inclined to move aside for police escorts because a) they physically cannot move out of the way, or b) they can see it is just a private car with a hired police escort. Besides police escorts (of which there are actually different types) for hire, anyone can mount flashing lights and sirens to their cars, police assistance plate numbers can be bought, and ambulances use their sirens even when they are not transporting live patients. In other words, all you will achieve with your police escort in a gridlock situation is adding even more noise to an already noisy environment; and if you have the fortune of light traffic, your police escort and your driver end up trying to break the sound barrier (which is actually quite scary given the quality of the roadways here).

    With all of the above in mind, I think everyone can agree that having a police escort is a novelty. Besides which, you don’t live in Jakarta and this may be your one and only trip into the city, so there really won’t be any residual impact to you aside from the empty space in your wallet where your money used to be. So have fun. Just remember, you are a global citizen and OMAAT is read by many people around the world.

  51. I’ve had to use military/police/UN escorts in various parts of the world due to the local situation, but while there is a “cool” factor the first few times there is also the reality that drawing attention to yourself can backfire. Jakarta may not be Mogadishu or Monrovia, but while a regular white guy in a nice car is not likely to draw much attention from organised crime or antisocial elements in a big city, a white guy with a police escort today who then goes soft side the next day is a sitting duck. My rule of thumb nowadays is to go low profile and soft side unless there is a specific threat or unless your movement is high profile anyway (eg. going to a government office for a publicized meeting). You either go strong or go soft, but never a combination of the two without a specific strategic reason. I’ve had one friend assassinated in Mogadishu when he ignored this rule (and one who survived a car bombing with injuries), but another who survived an assault in Lagos by following it (his police outriders were killed in the attack though).

    Would I use this kind of service in Jakarta? Hell no. Waste of money and no clear upside. It may give you a good story to write for the blog, but the potential security risk if you choose to then go soft for local transits and return would outweigh that for me. Just my $0.02.

  52. If TPG can have African children carry him through the streets of Accra on a litter, Ben is entitled to an escort by the po po.

  53. yes because getting to the executive lounge of the hotel and complaining about not having enough staff members to wipe your ass is a real emergency! go for that police escort!

  54. The road itself is owned by the corrupt children of one of the worst mass murderers in modern history, as in right up there with Pol Pot, so its unsurprising that the unbridled corruption of the police continues as in schemes such as this.

  55. Go for it slaps
    YOU work hard
    Being white and privileged your entitled to this.
    Hail slappig as she rides into Jakarta with a dirty blak ribbed butt plug rammed right up ya shitta

  56. if a policeman is needed to escort you from the airport to the hotel then there is virtually no where you can walk alone in this city. Like many cities, Jakarta is safe if a traveler exercises the usual cautions regardless of whether your hair is blond or jet black.

  57. @Jonathan @Mark F

    I do not see anything immoral with what I said. I have money. I am bringing my money and my business to this particular country. They should facilitate that instead of making my life harder by not being able to handle traffic properly. It just makes my life easier without making anybody’s life significantly harder. Yeah, it may not be convenient for them but they sure would like to have a tip whenever they serve you in a restaurant, right? Also, how long the inconvenience would be? 3 seconds? 5? A minute? So, yeah. Get off your high horses, just get it over with. Also, I never see people like you complain about completely unfair treatment of young, successful, white people in most of the Western world. God, sometimes SJW are so annoying.

  58. +1 for Mark F and others.
    As much as I love this blog and find the reviews inspiring, this particular post sounds terrible. Values and corruption aside, it just seems like a dick move toward the people who are stuck in traffic whilst going about their daily business. A complete waste of resources for a meaningless thrill.

  59. This sounds like the Ambulance taxi service that was being illegally operated in Delhi a few years back. Police are for protecting people. Not for joy rides through traffic. If you can’t put up with traffic in a city, don’t go there. Or use some other means. Helicopter transfer might be an option for instance.

  60. @roadsleeper — Just wanted to say thanks for the thoughtful post! Really interesting to hear the local perspective.

  61. I am trying to understand. I could see the benefit of this service if one REALLY needed to be somewhere in Jakarta (or anywhere else) at a specific time- if one is a diplomat or some underworld spy. I could even understand if one wanted to do this “for the experience.” (like getting a tantric massage in Hong Kong) This has nothing to do with how Indonesia handles its traffic, white people, or privilege. It smacks of a “service” for phrenetic, spoiled American brats. What’s the hurry? Does this make the transfer any safer? (it sounds as if it might be illegal and unsafe). “Eric” is the smart one here; he is laughing as he pockets $300 with a service that costs him some cheap gas and a bribe or two. Hey, you can get there EVEN faster with a small plane and a parachute. Lucky, yes in this case, I call you crazy. Maybe you should ponder a bit why you travel in the first place.

  62. On a semi-related note, I just returned from Jakarta this week and took advantage of the “One Night on Us” promotion for a Premier Suite at the new Four Seasons.

    http://www.fourseasons.com/jakarta/offers/one-night-on-us/

    It was a great deal considering the complimentary treats with Premier Suites and a very enjoyable stay over all.

    http://www.fourseasons.com/jakarta/accommodations/suites/premier-suite/

    (Perhaps it was just luck, but my room service breakfast was covered as well.)

  63. +1 Mark F and the Jakartan commenters

    As for those who write it off as a “minor inconvenience” to the locals, do note that 5 seconds per person for thousands of people do add up. If you wouldn’t use the same argument to cut in line at a ticket booth (hey each of the 100 people behind you will only be waiting 2 more minutes, right? what’s the big deal?), don’t use it in the traffic context.

    I’m not gonna join the commenters who label this as a moral disaster, and I do agree that this is a fun experience and would enjoy reading about it, but we should collectively agree that there’s something no kosher about such service that must be weighed into the pros and cons.

  64. Well, this comment section aptly reflects the mood of the USA (apologies to non-American posters).

    There’s those who write against it, because those people actually consider *other human beings* within their life’s decision framework. These are the kinds of people I like to be around. The kind of human that not only understands how the “Golden Rule” makes life better for everyone, but equally understands that the rule shouldn’t be set aside solely for selfish convenience. These folks are Shepherds.

    And there’s the others. Those humans elevate selfishness above any other tenet. They care little about any other human, they are as tribal as early cave dwellers, and hate that anybody might question they’re poor decisions. Oh, and they really like to trash people who don’t agree with them. These folks are Predators.

    Which kind of people would you rather be around?

  65. @Grzegorz:

    How much money are you going to get to Jakarta in order to be entitled to receive a special treatment?? how many millions your business are going to produce to that city?? Even if the answer is several millions you do not deserve special treatment, unless you are in some kind of risk due your wealth.

    And this has nothing to do with be white or rich, it is this part of Mark opinion “thinking your leisure trip is so important that you need to make the common natives pull over and delay them from getting to their jobs so that you can feel more important. Its very selfish”. Forget about the “white privilege” concept (what ever that means), been selfish has nothing to do with the color of the skin.

    @ Ben – aka Lucky

    forget about the selfich part, thing about what stvz says:

    “To subsidize corruption or not to subsidize corruption?”

    “To bribe cops or not to bribe cops??”

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