Guerrilla taxis and the revolution in your pocket / Ojek gerilya dan revolusi dalam kantongmu

Lihat ke bawah untuk versi Bahasa Indonesia

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Guerillas in our midst

It took a phone call and a short walk to find Mas Fauzy. He’d responded to my order for a Grabbike on arriving at Bandung station, but when I got to the street there was no sign of him. In fact, there no green helmets at all, and no branded jackets, despite a fair amount of traffic on the streets.  Eventually I spotted him, waving gingerly from the side of the road, and jumped onto the back of his bike.

“Why aren’t you wearing your jacket?” I asked, half grumpy from the effort of finding him, half concerned I’d been picked up by the wrong bike.

“We don’t use them here, Mas,” he replied, grinning as he shook his head. “Online taxis aren’t really accepted here yet, so we don’t wear the branding – we work guerrilla style.”

As we wove across Bandung Mas Fauzy told me a couple of stories – about ojek online being attacked by old style motorbike taxi drivers, having their smart phones or branded helmets taken and vandalised, and some getting beaten up.

“That’s why I wear my bag on my front like this,” he told me, gesturing to his open backpack. “So that I look like a commuter – and I can check the app on my phone inside it. We need to be careful – I’ve heard of people putting in fake orders to try and trap ojek online.”

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The revolution in our pockets

There’s a lot to say about the benefits of ojek (motorbike taxi) online. Because of GRUBERJEK (Grab, Uber and Gojek, the Big Three online taxi firms in Indonesia), consumers are far more likely to use an ojek: partly because it’s so much easier to find and order one (and all from the comfort of your home); partly because they’re cheaper than old-style ojek, and there’s a clear price system; partly because the quality of service is guaranteed (okay, almost guaranteed) by the training provided to drivers working for the Big Three, and because of the built-in feedback system that means that poor drivers must improve, or lose access to the service.

In the old days two or three years ago, a customer looking for an ojek late at night might get passed from driver to driver, looking for someone who’d give them a lift while the prices went up and up… I was put off ojek by a driver who turned out to be drunk, and drove like a madman through traffic jams and flooded roads until we finally crashed, leaving me to limp home with a bloody foot.

But to my mind by far the biggest and most important change in this new era of online transportation happens in the pockets of the drivers. The old-style ojeks in Bandung resist change because their income has dropped for single journeys – and they’re right, for single journeys. But without exception ojek online tell me that they make a lot more money since they’ve joined one of the Big Three. From 15,000 (US$1.15) to 50,000 rupiah ($3.75) a day operating independently on a street corner to 150, 200, 250 thousand rupiah per day – their average income has increased five fold. From 450 thousand rupiah a month to 4.5 million, to as much as seven-and-a-half million. Minimum wage in Jakarta is about 3.4 million rupiah per month ($260, give or take).

From waiting at coffee stalls on street corners all day, dependent on who might pass by, a driver can have customers all day, everyday. From living below the poverty line – like my neighbour, who often came home to his wife and kids with 15,000 rupiah in his hand after twelve hours waiting – I’ve met tukang ojek who are not only able to feed their families and pay the rent, but are putting their daughters through university.

Playing monopoly

So who loses? Of course, if a person can’t use a smartphone (like Pak Enjon, here), they’re left behind by this opportunity. Apart from that – it’s clear from the news that the owners and workers in other modes of transportation are feeling the competition. Angkot, buses, and especially the taxi companies, who have long profited from the paucity of good public transport services in Jakarta – are all losing out. Some take political steps to defend their monopolies, agitating for online taxis to be outlawed, or for unrealistic constraints to be imposed on their operations… while others bring their opposition violently to the streets, so that ojek online in Bandung and Jogjakarta and Surabaya fear conceal their identities, guerrilla style, and fight for their survival.

Points of friction as an economy shifts gears.

 

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Ojek Gerilya

“Kok tidak pakai jasnya?” saya tanya ke Mas Fauzy, jengkel karena dia susah ditemukan di Jalan Kebun Kawung, dekat ke Stasiun Bandung. Anehnya, helm hijau dan jas berlogo ojek online tidak kelihatan sama sekali di jalanan, walaupun lalu lintas ramai. Akhirnya kami ketemu setelah dia telepon, dan saya melihatnya, diam-diam melambai dari pinggiran jalan.

“Nggak pakai, mas,” dia tangkis, cengar-cengir. “Online masih kurang diterima di sini, jadi nggak pakai branding – harus gerilya.”

Mas Fauzy menceritakan perlawanan dari opang (ojek pangkalan), yang pernah mengeroyok ojek online yang masuk wilayah pangkalan, merusak HP dan memukul orangnya.

“Makanya saya pakai ransel di depan, gaya pegawai kantor, biar ngak kelihatan mengecek app di HP di dalamnya. Harus hati-hati. Kadang juga ada panggilan tapi itu tipuan buat menjebak ojek online.

Tidak jauh dari Jakarta, tapi beda jauh juga.

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Revolusi di Kantong Kita

Banyak yang bisa dikatakan tentang kelebihan sistem ojek online. Berkat GRUBERJEK, konsumen jauh lebih sering memakai ojek karena mudahnya mencari transportasi lewat app, karena lebih murah, dengan sistem harga yang jelas (information problem telah dipecahkan), dan karena mutu pelayanan juga terjamin (okey, hampir terjamin) dari training perusahaan online dan sistem umpan balik (ranking).

Zaman dulu, bisa jadi pelanggan dioper dari ojek ke ojek pada malam hari, mencari pengemudi yang siap membawanya pulang, bertanya-tanya apakah ada yang mau, seketika harga yang diminta ojek dimahalin terus. Pernah juga saya naik ojek dengan pengemudi yang ternyata mabuk – ngebut gila-gilaan, selap-selip di jalan sehingga akhirnya kami kecelakaan, jatuh di jalan, dan saya pulang dengan kaki berdarah.

Tetapi perubahan terpenting dari zaman online ini terjadi di kantong pengemudi. Opang di daerah melawan karena pendapatan mereka turun kalau sekali jalan. Benar itu, buat satu kali jalan. Tetapi tanpa pengecualian ojek online bilang ke saya, pendapatan mereka naik drastis setelah mulai memakai app. Dari 15 sampai 50 ribu rupiah per hari menjadi 150, 200, 250 ribu rupiah per hari, bahkan bisa di atas itu. Dari 450 ribu sampai 1,5 juta per bulan menjadi …. 4,5 sampai 7,5 juta. Bayangkan, seorang ojek online bisa dapat dua kali UMR.

Dari opang yang menunggu di warung sepanjang hari, bergantung pada siapa saja yang lewat, sekarang seorang pengemudi dengan Gojek, Grab atau Uber bisa proaktif mendapatkan pelanggan sepanjang hari. Dari keadaan susah – seperti tetangga saya yang dulu sering kali pulang malu, menghadapi anak isteri dengan 15 ribu di tangannya… sekarang ada tukang ojek yang tidak hanya bisa menafkahi keluarga, tetapi mampu juga membiayai kuliah putrinya.

Yuk, main Monopoli

Jadi siapa yang rugi? Kalau sesorang tidak tahu cara mengunakan smartphone (seperti Pak Enjon, di artikel ini), mereka tidak bisa memanfaatkan peluang ini, ketinggalan zaman. Selain itu – jelas dari berita bahwa pemilik perusahaan jenis transportasi lain rugi. Angkot, bis, dan secara khusus taksi, yang sudah lama diperkaya oleh karena buruknya transportasi umum di Jakarta  – semua rugi karena saingan yang baru ini. Ada yang ambil tindakan politik untuk mempertahan monopoli mereka, berusaha supaya taxi online dilarang, atau dipersusah… dan ada juga yang memakai kekerasan di jalan, sehingga ojek online di Bandung dan kota lain tidak pakai branding perusahaan online

Demikianlah, gesekan dari perUBERan zaman.

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