Jakarta’s New Love Chapter for Motorbike

They said the way Uber runs their business has changed the consumption behavior of people around the globe. It did not just change the way people consume taxi service but also the way people consume everything. People now want things to be available on-demand, over one-click of a button.

Uber may also have changed the way citizen in my hometown, Jakarta, consuming taxi service. It also really address the desire of Jakartans to always appear cool. General Indonesian relate coolness level with a car that you possess or vehicle that drops you in your destination. Common taxi won’t level-up your bar of coolness, public transportation will make you appear less pretty with all the sweat and smell.


Jakartans may also have acquire the on-demand behavior, but, they often forgot that Uber did not change the fact that Jakarta has the world’s worst traffic (according to Castrol and TomTom).

However great their desire to get Uber cars on demand, in Jakarta worst hour, they may not get any car at all.

What Uber did to Jakartans was escalating the desire to always appear cool, good, and beautiful. It did not improve the punctuality of Jakarta citizen since they all (including me) still has to face 1,5 to 2 hours on the road to reach a destination just 10 km away, or 3 hours if it is more congested than usual, or 6 hours if it is the flood season.

Hell, right? As Jakarta citizen who often experience that kind of situation, I wish I can just magically reach my destination in one click of a button.

Fortunately, there is another player in the Uber like service industry that has been born and bred in Jakarta since the beginning of 2016 and it use more local context for its service. The service is called Go-jek.

This time, the service reduces our excuses for not being punctual, and save a little bit of space on the road because Go-jek uses motorbike taxi (which in Indonesia we called as ojek) instead of car. It also embrace existing ojek communities and helps them to get customer.

Before Go-jek exist, ojek never had proper branding, campaign, advertisement, etc. In short: no touchpoint, no system. They are the quick and dirty public transportation provided by the citizen itself. Government or private sector never embrace them to become alternatives for public transportation.


Ojek drivers didn’t do a lot of promotion on their service. They just wait in corners of Jakarta’s street, under the trees or gazebo, for customer to approach them. Sometimes their only advertisement/touchpoint is a scrap wood plank with ‘ojek’ written on it. Most of their daily working hours are spent to wait for customer.

Besides that, they also don’t have standardized pricing. Their price depends on how many customer they have had, or the traffic condition, or just up to them! It sometimes stresses out customer too, to be charged Rp 20.000 instead the usual price of Rp 10.000 for the same length of drive.

Since Go-jek runs their business, a lot of ojek drivers are embraced.  They are now wearing uniform, catchy enough to be seen from the 10th floor of office buildings in Jakarta and be put into a healthy system and competition. Now ojek drivers can actively reach customer through the app when there is demand for an ojek. The price is now standardized too!

With Go-jek, ojek drivers can be more productive, calculate and raise their daily income. Some very diligent ojek drivers even able to raise their income to 300%. Also with Go-jek, Jakarta citizen are able to reach a destination 10 km away for only half an hour.

But Go-jek did not stop only at taking people to places faster. Since we all know, Jakarta’s traffic won’t change soon, plus the pollution and the weather has 100% possibility to make you sweat and stink if you go around with motorbike, sometimes it is better to not go out at all. That is probably why Go-jek also provides shopping and courier service!

With the shopping service they called Go-Mart and Go-Food, you can ask Go-jek driver to buy a plate of fried rice you want so bad for tonight from a street food stall 20 km away, or buy a book from Kinokuniya as a gift to bring for your friend’s birthday celebration tonight. Basically, you can ask to buy (almost) anything with total price up to Rp 1.000.000, and you can pay later once the item has arrived at your door.


Go-jek service gets even more exciting for the customer and also other communities beside ojek drivers, since it starts offering service to deliver another service to you, which are: hairstyling, massage, and house cleaning.

Since its launching, Go-jek received huge and rising demands. They are now in several cities in Indonesia and lots of business now appear to use motor-taxi to deliver its service. Business in Jakarta has been Go-jek-ed.

For me and many others who lives in Jakarta, Go-jek may not answer traffic problem there, or address people’s desire to appear cool and beautiful. But it gives alternative of action for public transportation user and keeping them happy in the world’s worst traffic city.

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