The Jakarta Post
The rising popularity of the Go-Jek smartphone application has created unease among a number of traditional ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers who wait for customers on the streets, forcing the Go-Jek drivers to take extra precautions during their daily activities.
Go-Jek is a smartphone application with which users can order an ojek (motorcycle taxi) to transport them places or to ask the driver to deliver goods. Users can also track an ojek driver's location through the application with a global positioning system (GPS).
While the service offers convenience, a post on social media site Path by Boris Anggoro that went viral earlier this week had broadcast concerns regarding Go-Jek driver safety over a business rivalry between Go-Jek and regular ojek drivers.
In his post, Boris shared an unpleasant experience that took place when he was using the Go-Jek app to order an ojek driver to pick him up from his office in Kuningan, South Jakarta.
Boris said that soon after he made the order, the driver assigned to pick him up phoned him, telling him that a group of local ojek drivers had approached him as soon as he arrived at Boris' office.
'He said they would not hesitate to beat him up if he insisted on picking up a passenger in their area. The driver then told me that he preferred leaving to taking the risk,' Boris told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Thursday.
Afterwards, Boris ordered another driver via the Go-Jek app. However, the locals ojek driver somehow knew what he was doing and told him in anger that he should hire a local ojek driver as he worked in an office located in their neighborhood. The incident has made him more careful about hiring a Go-Jek.
'Now I am worried every time I order a Go-Jek. I have to look around to see if there are local ojek drivers around,' he said.
In response, Go-Jek has emphasized that the company does not aim to compete with local ojek drivers, but to help them develop instead. The company also said that its drivers have been equipped with medical and accident insurance.
Given Jakarta's infamous congestion, ojek can be found on almost every street corner in the capital. However, many customers say they are uncomfortable with the bargaining they need to do to hire a traditional ojek driver, a problem that could be avoided by using Go-Jek as the company sets a fixed price for each kilometer traveled.
Established in 2011, the popularity of Go-Jek has been rapidly rising since it launched Android and iOS apps earlier this year. Also, people can easily spot Go-Jek drivers who dress in green jackets and helmets.
Effendi Damanik, a 43-year-old Go-Jek driver at Bata Putih market in South Jakarta, said he had always been cautious when picking up customers outside his regular base point.
'I will call my customers first to avoid having them wait for me near other ojek drivers because I'm afraid they will be irked,' he said.
He added that every group of ojek drivers had unwritten territory rules. 'They may think that we take their income, so we have to be considerate,' he said.
Meanwhile, some traditional ojek drivers accept the presence of Go-Jek. One of them is Abdul Hakim, a 33-year-old ojek driver at the Palmerah train station in Central Jakarta.
'We respect Go-Jek drivers who happen to have customers in this area. However, we will not tolerate any outside drivers who purposely look for customers in our area,' he said.
Separately, Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama defended Go-Jek, saying that it was normal to find resistance from some people.
'I think Go-Jek is a good idea because it helps many people. There are a group of people that don't like their business, but it has proven to be quite helpful [...] I'm sure Go-Jek can take care of this problem themselves,' Ahok said at City Hall on Thursday. (rbk)
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