Senin, 18 Oktober 2010

Story about motorcycle taxi

OJEK or motorcycle taxi (got this from daily newspaper: JAKARTA POST)

I have no idea when Ojek started to operate here in Jakarta or in any other part of Indonesia for that matter. I started to realize about this (illegal) public transportation when I just started to work. (Oh dear…wondering what I have been doing all that time before finally have a job to do)

During my job, I made friend with someone from other company. And one day she asked me to go to the movie with her. She said to go there it would be best if we use ojek. And I were like hesitating and it must have shown in my voice. She then asked what’s wrong.

“To be honest, “ I replied over the phone. “I have never use Ojek before…”
“WHAT?” she burst out laughing… “You kidding, right?”
I sighed.
“No, I am not… I have never been in a bicycle before (to this she then…again…laughed out loud) and therefore I am kinda scared using Ojek…”
“For heaven sakes… You are Jakartan! You live here all your life… You have to try it,” she replied. “Nothing can go wrong… Just pretend you are with someone that you know…”

Of course eventually I gave in and went to the movie with her using Ojek for the first time. I always use pants so I just sat on the motorcycle facing up front. Those women passengers who are used with Ojek sometimes just sat facing the left side. I still not dare to do that very often as once I did try and almost fall from the motorcycle.

I still remember the sensation of my first time on the motorcycle. It was fun, feeling the air (and sadly the dust) swept on my face… To know that we were going to arrive there earlier than everybody’s else because they were still stuck in the traffic jam. So, yeah… I enjoyed my first time using Ojek.

Then Jakarta was hit by riots and my public transportation such as buses were unable to take passengers home due to roadblocks or worst. The angry mob often just burns those buses though nobody was inside. The other way to go home was to use Ojek. Naturally, the give us outrageously expensive fare but seriously…at that time nobody care. All we could think of to get home as soon as possible. Who would want to stand like an idiot on the street when there were so many looters, angry people thirsty to kill anyone that they stumble upon? Or walk miles and miles away as no public transportation available at that time.

Ojek however, will refuse passengers that wish to go to the flooded area. Or during heavy rain pouring down the earth. The driver prefer to take cover under the bridge and yes it will cause another traffic jam.

The fare however is a bit tricky. Perhaps you should ask around before deciding to use Ojek. Like for example to go from here to there the common fare usually around USD 1. But when you asked them, they will just say USD 2. If you do not bargain, then it will be your lose. Or, if they give you a number then just bargain with half of the price. If he seems grumbling but take the offer then yeah…that is the suitable fare. If the driver seems pissed then you may try to ask another driver…

Most of these Ojek’s driver hang around together for passengers near bus stop. If you are wondering where the heck is the bus stop; usually located near or under the crossing bridge. You would find so many ojek there. Ever since the economic turmoil in the year 1998 many people use their motorcycle to be Ojek. The number is increasing so it is a tough life for them.

I once have a chit chat with Ojek’s driver while he took me to my destination. He said that there are so many people becoming ojek’s driver. His income started to decrease and he was a bit frustrated by this. I said, whether he consider himself to take another job? He said he did. He was offered to work in this cruise ship to be cleaner. However, his wife refuse to let him go as she worried her husband would fall in love with someone else. He then laughed and said he would do it anyway because he has no idea how long he could keep this up on supporting a family with so little income.

Ojek’s driver like any other human being can be aggressive and rude. On the other hand they could act fatherly especially towards younger women. It depends on the person how they behave to their passengers. If they are nice naturally passengers will remember them and looking forward to use their service again. And if they are not, all passengers will no doubt remember them to not use their service again in the future.

So, do not wish to get stuck at traffic jam? Use Ojek!

2 komentar:

  1. This is a great blog and I have linked to it and I hope you keep it up. But do take care on the buses as they are not the safest or nicest of places and make sure you wear a helmet if you are on a Ojek...

  2. Thank you :) I like your blog as well ^__^
    And thanks for giving me an idea to my next chapter on Ojek :D and for being considerate about me on the buses


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