2015 was the breakthrough year for on-demand motorcycle taxis – or Uber for two-wheelers – in Indonesia.
Go-Jek got into pole position by launching its mobile app in January. It included options for personal transportation, instant courier, and food delivery. Go-Jek has been around since 2011, but it only recently generated lots of buzz. When Southeast Asian startup GrabTaxi began testing its motorcycle option GrabBike in Vietnam in late 2014, Go-Jek suddenly made a massive push. Now it claims to have 200,000 drivers in its network.
GrabBike and Go-Jek are the two strongest companies battling it out on Indonesia’s streets. Backed by millions in venture capital, they’re entering new cities with ever-lower promo prices and new features.
Jeger Taksi serves customers in the greater Jakarta area with a fleet of about 500 drivers. Beyond personal transportation, Jeger Taksi can also be used to send documents and parcels. So far, this service can only be booked via a hotline, it hasn’t even launched a mobile app, though it says it’s working on it.
As the name suggests, LadyJek is a motorcycle taxi service exclusive for women (ojek is the term for informal two-wheel transportation in Indonesian). Only female drivers and passengers can sign up to LadyJek.
LadyJek’s founder Brian Mulyadi says that his service wants to appeal to women who have safety concerns and would otherwise refrain from hiring a regular motorcycle taxi. LadyJek is making safety its first priority. It equips each of its female drivers with an alarm system that emits a loud noise if the driver and passenger encounter trouble.
LadyJek is available in the greater Jakarta area and counts around 700 drivers in its network. It charges a rate of IDR 25,000 [US$1.82] for the first six kilometers, and IDR 4,000 [US$0.29] for each further kilometer. LadyJek rides can be ordered via its Android app. Payments can be made in cash or cashlessly with Bank Mandiri’s or XL’s e-cash system.
Like LadyJek, OjekSyari is an on-demand motorcycle taxi service just for women. The difference is that OjekSyari requires its drives to wear a hijab. According to Evilitia Andarini, drivers who wear a headscarf are less prone to sexual harassment. It also makes passengers – who are, of course, also women – feel more comfortable if they have to hold on to the driver’s waist.
OjekSyari started in Surabaya and now it’s present in 11 cities. The rate is IDR 3,000 [US$0.22] per kilometer, with a start fee of IDR 5,000 [US$0.36] at the beginning of the journey. Ordering can only be done by SMS.
Blu-Jek was founded by Garrett Kartono and has four main services: personal transporation, instant courier, shopping, and food delivery.
When it launched, people speculated it might be part of the BlueBird Group, which is Indonesia’s largest taxi company. But the “Blu” in Blu-Jek has nothing to do with BlueBird, the founder says. Instead it stands for “blusukan,” a term popularized by Indonesian president Joko Widodo, which means to perform an unannounced site inspection.
Since its launch in mid-September, Blu-Jek has signed up about 1,000 drivers and says it has another 1,000 in the selection pipeline. About 100 of them are female, according to the company. Payments can be made in cash or with Bank Mandiri e-cash.
The price for Blu-Jek is IDR 20,000 [US$1.46] for the first five kilometers, and IDR 4,000 [US$0.29] for each following kilometer. Orders can be placed through its iOS and Android apps.
Wheel Line was an early mover. It was started by Chris Wibawa in 2012 as a courier service. It can also be used for shopping and personal transportation. It operates in Jakarta and the surrounding area. Wheel Line still doesn’t have a mobile application, so orders need to be made by email or SMS. It operates its own fleet, which means it has to send one of its drivers from its office to your place.
Wheel Line’s pricing is based on a zoning model, and goes from IDR 30,000 [US$2.19] to IDR 120,000 [US$8.75]. Payments can only be made in cash.
Sister Ojek is after a particular segment: women and children. It only hires female drivers. There’s one more thing that makes this newcomer unique: Sis-O doesn’t only target individual passengers, but wants to rope in companies to pay for the service on a monthly basis for their employees.
Sis-O was launched in May and also offers courier services and shopping. The start price is IDR 2,000, [US$0.15] with IDR 2,000 [US$0.15] per kilometer. Sis-O also charges a fee of IDR 15,000 [US$1.09] for letting the driver wait for one hour, a cancellation fee of IDR 5,000 [US$0.36] and it allows pre-orders. It’s only available in some districts of Jakarta, and can only be ordered by phone.
Antar started as a courier service, but now it also takes passengers. It operates in the greater Jakarta area and has an Android app.
Its pricing is as follows: IDR 25,000 [US$1.82] for the first 5 kilometers, and IDR 3,700 [US$0.27] for each one after that.
It doesn’t seem to have any further differentiating factors.
The same goes for TopJek. Like Antar, it offers personal rides and parcel delivery. The app’s launch was planned for November, but so far, it’s not available on the Google Play store.
Topjek founder Cempaka Adinda says a key feature of this app will be masked numbers: drivers and passengers can only communicate in a separate chat so that phone numbers aren’t revealed. She said this was to avoid drivers trying to contact passengers after a ride.
The most recent player to make a push for on-demand motorcycle fame goes by the rather uninspired name Uberjek. Its founder Aris Wahyudi staged a cheap stunt to win media attention by claiming the key selection criteria for drivers was an “armpit smell test.”
The website is pretty specific about the company’s goals – it will include courier and personal transportation services as well as the option for female passengers to request a female driver. Uberjek drivers will not wear a uniform (unlike Go-Jek and most other services) and are encouraged to dress as they like. It plans to use rewards to incentivize passengers.
All this could be meant as a silly joke, but Uberjek went so far as to stage a press conference. And the media lapped it up. Until there’s proof that the service is actually going to launch, Tech in Asia considers this an exercise in how to troll the media.
Lastly, Philippine transportation company U-Hop has plans to enter Indonesia with several services, including on-demand motorcycles, before the end of the year. Unlike Uberjek, this company is already a legit player and claims to be profitable in its home market. Its differentiator is that it focuses on commuters who pay monthly subscriptions. This helps the company plan ahead to ensure a steady balance of supply and demand.
U-Hop emerged as the winner of Tech in Asia’s recent Startup Arena pitch battle. It will be an interesting addition to the plethora of on-demand transportation apps in Indonesia’s cities.
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