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Bike Taxis go High-Tech

Traffic jams are part of everyday life in Jakarta, but the inconvenience has paved the way for a new type of transport service in the Indonesian capital. Even though the roads are packed, motorcycle taxis weave through the traffic, providing an indispensable service.

Passengers often complain that regular drivers overcharge, even for the shortest routes, but a motorcycle taxi app is catching on with set fares and good service. People can catch a lift with a few simple taps of their smartphone.

During the booking process, users input a destination, after which they receive a fare based on distance, eliminating any potential conflict. The drivers are kitted out in signature green uniforms and pick up passengers quickly.

It is a winning combination that has led to more than three million downloads of the user-friendly app. "We don't need to haggle over fares any more, and it's also cheaper. I'll definitely use the service again," says one happy customer.

Food deliveries can also be arranged through the app, and customers say the drivers know all the shortcuts that ensure meals arrive fresh. "I don't go out for food anymore because of the traffic jams. This app-based motorbike service is really helpful," says another customer.

The company behind the app, Gojek, is aiming for market saturation. "We want our application to be the basis of every possible mobile service," says CEO Nadiem Makarim.

Drivers are also keen to sign up because the app lets them work more efficiently, - and most importantly, make more money. Some say their incomes have tripled. Freelance motorcycle taxi driver Abudul Hafidz has been working the job for more than a decade and says he decided to join Gojek to provide for his children. "My main aim is to make more money so I can send my daughters to college," he explains. All new drivers are required to attend a seminar on road safety and customer service and during the one-day session they learn what to look out for on the roads, and how to treat passengers. "All I used to think about was getting passengers where they want to go. The seminar made me realize that I need to be more attentive to them," says Hafidz.

He is pleased to be part of the new guard of motorcycle taxis that make sure people and goods get to their destinations in good time...without road congestion getting in the way.

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