Skip to main content

Is app-based ojek a messiah for Jakarta’s traffic?

App-based motorcycle taxi, known as ojek, in Jakarta is the capital’s newest sensation. When you hit the road, you will find it extremely easy to see motorists donning green helmet which displays Gojek or Grabbike logo on it. They boast that they have thousands of drivers in the capital.

Gojek and Grabbike are two smartphone applications that enable users to order ojek with a rational price. They break away from the conventional ojek which usually charge irrational fare. They calculate fare based on distance through google map.

For instance, I once tried to take an ojek from my office building to a train station which is only 5 km away. If I took a taxi, it would cost me around Rp 40 thousand. However, it was a Friday evening, meaning that only miracle could help me get a taxi in Sudirman area, the main business district in the capital. After waiting for an empty cab for more than an hour, I gave up.

The notorious 'Macet' in Sudirman Area during peak hours
Then, I decided to take an ojek to take me to the station since my train was about to leave in an hour. I approached one driver, who he told me that the fare was Rp 50 thousand. I then tried to find 4 other ojek drivers only to be offered with similar range of fare. I finally agreed with Rp 45 thousand since I got no other choice.

The ojek drivers cited he charged me with Rp 45 thousand because the route was far; they should navigate through the congestion; and many other irrational reasons. I did not buy their reasons because I am a motorbike rider myself. I know what ‘far’ is and I think 5 km is not that ‘far.’

Gojek driver and his passenger
If only I used ­app-based ojek, I mostly would spend less than Rp 25 thousand for that travel. Gojek, for instance, charges its passengers with Rp 25 thousand for minimum use of 6 km. If there is a promo, I probably will only spend Rp 5 thousand!

Rational price, transparent fare calculation and reliability. These are probably the reasons why app-based ojek is so popular in Jakarta for the last two months. Both Gojek and Grabbike (downloaded as GrabTaxi) have been downloaded by more than 1 million people in Play Store.

The popularity of app-based ojek shows that Jakartans actually really need public transportation that they can rely on. I sometimes find it exhausting to ride my motorbike, navigating through the crazy city traffic all the time. That is why, I have been using these app-based ojek for some times now and I find them extremely helpful. All I need to do is open my phone, wait patiently, and just hop on the bike.

Inside a crowded TransjakartaCredit:

True, the Jakarta city administration has been developing other means of public transportation. The city favorite Transjakarta bus is one of them. With only Rp 3,500, you are able to commute all across the city. However, the bus is oftentimes not reliable. The headway is still very long. Sometimes, you have to wait for an hour for a bus to show up. In peak hours, the bus become extremely crowded and inconvenient to ride. Either being squeezed in the bus or going home late at night, your call.

'Fish in a can'
The other means of transportation is the city train system Commuter Line. Similar to its cousin, Transjakarta, Commuter Line is also a favorite since we can travel to the outskirts of Jakarta and its satellite cities with low price. Also, it is free of macet! However, as its cousin, riding in a Commuter Line train at peak hours is like being a fish in a can i.e. you barely can stand.

Other than Transjakarta bus and Commuter Line trains is crappy city buses, which have roamed the city traffic since the 80s, probably. The buses are old and poorly maintained. And, you need to pay more cautions since pickpockets love to ride such buses as well. While it is true that some bus operators start to rejuvenate their fleet, but the number of the new buses are still very limited.

Enough said. The city lacks proper public transportation. Thus, when app-based ojek is launched, it suddenly becomes popular because Jakartans consider such ojek as the alternative for proper public transportation in the city.

Inside the legendary PPD 213bus (by Rizqi Arifuddin)

However, people should also realize that these app-based ojek is not the solution to the city problem. Even though I really love these ojek, I still firmly believe that mass public transportation is still the answer to solve the worsening traffic in Jakarta. Motorcycle is not a form of public transportation as it only accommodates two people.

As the graphic above shows you, train is the answer for Jakarta’s traffic as it can accommodate thousands of people into one set of train. Ojek meanwhile can only accommodate one passenger. Imagine how many ojek the city will need if more and more people use gojek and grabbike. In fact, Jakarta streets already house thousands, if not millions, of motorcycles every day. Thus, I highly expect that the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train that the city administration is developing will not fail us. It may be the answer to solve the city’s worsening congestion.

Until that day comes, gojek and grabbike may become the alternative way of commuting in Jakarta, at least for me.

MRT Jakarta Plan


Popular posts from this blog

The Two Most Influential Postmodernist Thinkers

This second post about postmodernism will consist of two greatest postmodernist thinkers and their contribution to postmodernism.
1. Jean François Lyotard.
Lyotard is a French philosopher. He opened the discussion for postmodernism in social theory with his groundbreaking publication ‘La Condition Postmoderne’ (The Condition Postmodern). His works stress the decline of meta-narratives or grand-narratives, as some scholars refer it. Meta-Narratives as defined in the previous post are sets of ideas governing what is right and wrong. For example, religion defines how to live a good life. By doing so, people who do not appeal to the characteristics of good man as defined by religion will be considered unfaithful, as bad people. Lyotard argues that this way of legitimating declines in a postmodern society. What is considered good can no longer be clearly separated from what is considered bad.

The decline of meta-narratives was triggered by communication development. Traditional communicatio…

Movie Review | Stream of Tears in Wedding Dress

Last Saturday, I got a runny nose -kind of severe, as I recalled- not because of sick, but because I watched a Korean movie entitled WeddingDress.
I have frequently watched Korean movies. In my opinion, they are much better than Indonesian movies. Not that I dislike my country (I just dislike Indonesia’s movies), but yeah, Korean movies have a wide range of preference. You can watch cheesy-funny-romantic movie that make you feel happy and smile all the time. Or try to watch a horror-romanticmovie that makes you laugh and scared. You can also find cool action movie! Some movies even make me cry a lot. I really mean it when I say some Korean movies really make me cry so badly. Wedding Dress is one that makes me cry. I am a boy and I cry. So what? I don’t buy the ubiquitous saying ‘Boys don’t cry’.

Wedding Dress narrates the life of a single mother, Go-eun, played by Song Yun Ah. Her husband dies already, leaving her only with her young daughter, So-ra, nicely played by Kim Hyang-gi. …

Gender Issues in Japanese Anime and Manga

I've got this idea to write about Japan's popular culture for  some times. Firstly, I love Japan's popular culture such as anime and manga.Japan's anime and manga are so popular around the world, transcending nations, age, sex and gender. I read Japan's  manga from the age of 10 (may be), until now. I watched Japan's anime also for years.

One thing that really makes me wonder is about the depiction of gender in those popular culture product. Before furthering the discussion, it is important to say that i follow Ann Oakley's argumentation to differ sex and gender. Sex is naturally determined, while gender is socioculturally constructed. Thus, to speak of male and female is to speak of sex. While to speak of masculine and feminine is to speak of gender. In doing gender (attributing gender characteristics in body), people are for so long stereotyped by the existing binary relation. It means that male should develop masculine traits to be called as a real man.…