Parking in Jakarta

Considering it’s the biggest city in SE Asia, I’ve seldom had trouble finding a parking space in Jakarta.  That’s largely thanks to guys like Hassan, the ‘tukang parkir’. Anywhere you can park a car, you will find them, or rather – they will find you.  Except in the quiet residential streets. 

If there is the slightest possibility of being able to park near the place you want, they will find it for you, help guide your car into the parking spot and even stop the flow of traffic (if necessary) so you can drive out.  You get all that service, plus an hour or so’s parking, for 2,000rp – far less than you’d pay for a metered spot in your own country. And this is in the centre of Jakarta!

If the regular parking bays are all full, they will help you to double-park your car. However, you have to be willing to leave it in neutral with the brake off so they can move your car to let out the one you’re blocking.

You will also find this service in the multi-level car parks attached to malls and in the fenced-off clusters of rukos (ruko=shop house). Because you pay for the parking at the gate, these guys will guide your car into a space for no charge, although you can choose to tip them if you want (especially if they found you a spot in a crowded car park).

In fact, you will find this service in every town in Java, not just Jakarta.  It’s just that the ones in Jakarta are particularly creative in finding you a spot. Without these guys, parking would be about as difficult as in London.

Looking at the clip, I’m not sure about the meaning of all that sign language in the first half. Towards the end (0:45), you can see Hasssan demonstrating his skills. Notice that he has the cars triple parked and he’s managing the motor bikes too.

I would be interested to know how these self-appointed parking attendants gain posession of the right to work their little patch of street.


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