English traffic expressions from my trip to Jakarta

While I was in Jakarta last week, I thought of some interesting vocabulary I would like to share related to my trip. Try and guess what the words and expressions in black mean then check your answers at the end of the article.

Jakarta is an interesting city. Many people find it intimidating at first but once you get to know it, the local food and culture is really exciting. The thing Jakarta is most famous for with the locals, though, is the traffic.

One of the first words you will hear on your arrival in Jakarta will be macet. This means ‘congested’. It can take a long time to get from the airport to the city centre so it’s a good idea to bring a book to read in the taxi.

When we went to Jakarta last week, we took the shuttle bus from the airport to the city centre. It went via the toll road so the trip didn’t take too long. The bus pulled up right outside the office we needed to visit, so we got off and walked straight in.

When we left the office, we got a taxi back to the hotel. The traffic was gridlocked so the driver took a short cut. He went down some side roads and got us back to the hotel quickly.

Our hotel was in the city centre so we were able to walk for most of the rest of the vacation and didn’t need to get stuck in any more traffic. Jakarta is a hot place to be a pedestrian at mid-day but walking in the morning or afternoon is quite comfortable.

It took us quite a while to get back to the airport because we had to go around the one-way system and there was a small traffic jam waiting to get onto the toll road. We got there in the end, though, and caught our plane back to Bali.

  • a toll road – a road you must pay to use
  • to pull up – when a vehicle stops
  • gridlocked – an area of extremely congested traffic
  • a short cut – an alternative (usually faster) route to a destination
  • a side road/street – a small, minor road
  • a pedestrian – someone who walks
  • a one-way system – a series of streets that you can only travel down in one direction
  • a traffic jam – when a street is congested and the traffic is not moving