Ladies Only, Please

The streets of Indonesia’s capital are clogged with traffic, as the underfunded and seemingly unplanned arteries of the Jakarta grind to a predictable halt each and everyday. Residents of the city have long relied on Motorbike Taxis, locally known as Motor-Jeks or Ojeks, to get around and beat the traffic or to avoid the unbelievably packed public buses.

Recently there have been a couple of additions to the seemingly chaotic mass, with the introduction of Ladyjek and Sister Ojek, a pair of services catering exclusively for female passengers in the city of more than 10 million people.

According to Ladyjek founder, Brian Mulyadi, the app has had 50,000 downloads and is used by hundreds of Indonesians daily. The company has about 2,400 drivers in its fleet, made up of mostly housewives or students. Ladyjek was launched only in October last year, and has taken off in the short time in the majority Muslim country.

There are even companies similar to Ladyjek, including Ojesy or Ojek Syari, which has drivers wearing the hijab. For the modest Indonesian lady, the public transport system means that they are crammed sardine-like into vehicles, often tightly against a man, which makes the ladies feel very uncomfortable. However, hopping onto the back of a motorbike driven by a lady makes them feel more at ease.

Since the success of Go-Jek, the first mobile app in Jakarta to connect the country’s millions to the traditional motorcycle ojeks, dozens of similar companies have sprouted in the country in the past year or so.

“The other online motorbike taxi services are very convenient, but there’s no service to take care of the safety and comfort of women. That’s why I created Ladyjek,” Mulyadi said.

Last June, a woman was raped in a public minivan in Jakarta, but critics observed that the government has done little to prevent future occurrences.

“The government hasn’t really done much,” transportation analyst Azas Tigor Nainggolan said. “Even when there are passengers who felt they were harassed and reported it to authorities, the police are often confused about how to tackle the problem.”


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