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Jakarta Post

We're ready: App-based ‘ojek’ drivers welcome ‘new normal’ with health measures

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, June 1, 2020   /   06:25 pm
We're ready: App-based ‘ojek’ drivers welcome ‘new normal’ with health measures A ride-hailing app-based motorcycle taxi (ojek) driver rests on his motorcycle near Palmerah railway station in West Jakarta. (JP/Sutrisno Jambul)

As Jakarta is likely to end its large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) on Thursday, app-based motorcycle taxi (ojek) services are embracing the so-called “new normal” by preparing health measures for transporting passengers. 

In accordance with Health Ministerial Decree No. 9/2020 on PSBB guidelines, Greater Jakarta administrations have since early April prohibited app-based ojek from transporting passengers. Such services, however, have been available for goods delivery.

App-based ojek association Two-Wheel Movement Union (GARDA) said the drivers were ready to resume their services in the new normal. The association has even been campaigning for the use of a portable plastic partition to prevent direct contact between drivers and passengers on trips after the suspension is lifted. 

“We want to make both passengers and drivers comfortable,” the head of GARDA, Igun Wicaksono, said as quoted by on Saturday. “The partition is made of flexible material so the driver can take it on and off easily,” he added.

Read also: Experts slam govt for 'inconsistent, poor' COVID-19 policies after transport relaxation

According to Igun, the plastic partition, which is easy to clean, would be carried like a backpack by drivers. The partition is equipped with a hand grip to avoid direct physical contact between driver and passenger. 

“It is our initiative. The government and app companies do not provide the tools. 

“As we produce the partition on our own, it will be made to order,” he said, indicating that drivers had to pay to own the partition.

On Saturday, the Home Ministry issued a decree on guidelines for its civil servants working in the new normal phase, which drew criticism from the app-based ojek association.

The decree suggests the Home Ministry's civil servants be extra cautious in using public transportation, especially ojek, to avoid virus spread through shared helmets and direct contact between drivers and passengers, in the new normal. 

Ojek drivers were concerned that the decree meant that transporting passengers would remain prohibited in the new normal. The association had even planned to stage a protest for a revision to the decree in front of the Presidential Palace complex in Jakarta.

In response, Home Ministry spokesperson Bahtiar Baharuddin said the decree meant no prohibition for ojek, adding that the ministry had no authority in regulating ojek services. 

“[The decree] was more like a suggestion for our civil servants to be really cautious in entering the productive and safe new normal [...].

“[We’re suggesting health measures] especially for those who are [about to use] app-based and conventional ojek because of the shared helmets,” said Bahtiar as quoted by on Sunday, suggesting that civil servants wear their own helmets. (trn)