Jakarta’s Motorcycle Taxis Get Creative With Body Shield

Around the world, the ride-sharing business has plummeted since the start of the pandemic and here in Southeast Asia, many drivers’ “rice bowls” have been smashed (that means losing their livelihood).

In the congested cities of Indonesia, the most efficient way of getting around was by way of motorcycle taxis, which, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, were available in the thousands in the capital city of Jakarta. During the lockdown, motorcycle taxis were banned from taking passengers and were restricted to delivering items only.

No wonder, for Indonesia is one of the worst-hit countries in Southeast Asia, with the number of infections increasing to 38,277 and the total fatalities reaching 2,134 today.

Restrictions are starting to ease, though, and motorcycle taxis are allowed to once again carry passengers, yet there remains the concern for safety of both drivers and passengers. But when times get tough, people get creative.

Motorcycle taxi drivers in Jakarta have started to don a plastic partition on their back, like how they would carry a backpack, provided by the ride-hailing companies Grab and Gojek. The partition creates a shield between them and the passenger – even with the driver and pillion rider in such close proximity, the shield prevents droplets from transmitting between the two.

Furthermore, if payment is made using the app as a non-cash transaction, there really is no contact at all. The driver gets to keep earning, the rider continues to enjoy the convenience of the service, and safety for both is assured. Isn’t that clever?

Image source: Reuters
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