Women-only taxis hailed in Jakarta

A Ladyjek employee (left) picking up a passenger. Since its launch in October last year, the Ladyjek mobile app has been downloaded about 50,000 times, says the firm's founder Brian Mulyadi.
A Ladyjek employee (left) picking up a passenger. Since its launch in October last year, the Ladyjek mobile app has been downloaded about 50,000 times, says the firm's founder Brian Mulyadi.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA • Jakarta is seeing a growing number of transportation services catering exclusively to women, offering better security and comfort compared with packed public buses and trains in the Indonesian capital of 10 million people.

Ladyjek and Sister Ojek, the most recent entrants to the women-only taxi services, have seen business take off less than four months after starting operations in the predominantly Muslim nation.

"In other public transportation, such as public minivans, there are too many men in such a tight space, which makes me feel very uncomfortable. However, I feel safe if it's Ladyjek because the bikers are also women," Ms Uki Pratiwi told Reuters before hopping on a motorcycle ridden by a Ladyjek employee.

Since its launch in October last year, the Ladyjek mobile app has been downloaded about 50,000 times, and hundreds of Indonesians use its services each day, said Ladyjek founder Brian Mulyadi. The firm employs about 2,400 drivers, mostly housewives or students, and plans to expand beyond Jakarta.

Dozens of motorcycle-sharing firms have been set up in Indonesia in the past year, seeking to emulate the success of Go-Jek, the first firm in Jakarta to use smartphones to tap into the country's millions of traditional motorbike taxis, known as ojeks. "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," Mr Mulyadi said.

Other firms similar to Ladyjek include Ojesy or Ojek Syari, which offers hijab-wearing drivers.

The rape of a woman in a public minivan sparked an uproar in Jakarta last June, but critics say the government has done little to prevent future cases.

Transportation analyst Azas Tigor Nainggolan said: "The government hasn't really done much. Even when passengers who feel they are harassed report it to the authorities, the police are often confused about how to tackle the problem."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2016, with the headline 'Women-only taxis hailed in Jakarta'. Print Edition | Subscribe