Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 13 September 2010 • Blog
A public transportation service in Indonesia is usually marked by its yellow license plate. But, in Indonesia there are a few ‘alternatives’. One of my personal favorite public transports is the ojek, which sometimes are spelled ojeg. It’s not a specific device, it’s more to a system. An ojek is a private owned motorcycle taxi that can take you almost anywhere you want as long as the driver knows where you’re going and would like you take you there. Some say that its name is an abbreviation of ‘Ongkos ngaJEGang’ which translate to the fare to keep your legs apart, LOL! Now I don’t exactly know what that implies to but it we’ll just leave it there.
They usually hangout in the corners of the streets and alleys, ready to take people around the area and up to the door step of their destination. But ojeks sometimes aren’t limited to a certain area. If necessary, they will take you further areas as long as the pay is according to their liking, even to other cities if the deal is delish!
Here are some notes about the ojek that might help you out, should you choose to consider using one:
1. ‘The cost?’ It really depends on the distance of your destination. The further you travel, the more money you would have to spend, like a taxi.
2. ‘So how much?’ This also depends on where you are. If you’re in a big city or a touristy place, then it would cost you more than if you were somewhere with less visitors or less people using the services. What is categorized as a touristy place? Well, popular ones such as Bali and Lombok. Even the remote touristy places, if they are commonly dealing with visitors, than the prices might be higher.
3. ‘HOW MUCH?’ That also depends on your ability to haggle. If you can haggle good and reasonable and NICELY than you would get a cheaper price than what you should pay.
4. ‘Seriously, I got a budget to plan?’ The cost of an ojek is usually the same as a taxi. But ojek takes you there faster and with a better sight-seeing of course since you have an unlimited view. For instance, a 20ish km is about IDR 30,000 by taxi could be same price as ojeks in Jakarta. But I took a ojek ride in Rote for 90 km or so for about IDR 75,000. It’s conditional.
5. It would help if you already have a rough idea how far your distance is and if you know how much it would cost with a taxi for the same length. You could also ask a local for an estimation of fare before you start negotiating.
6. Ojek drivers are also ‘alternative’ drivers, meaning? They would take alternative roads, slip in between cars just when you think they can’t pass, and are willing to do dangerous stunts if you need to get to somewhere in a jiffy!
7. Wear something to cover your head. Ojeks have a lot of passengers per day, and they probably sweat using the helmet. So, to keep your hair cleaner wear a hat, a veil, a scarf, a swimming cap, anything before wearing his helmet, that can reduce the amount of contact between your locks and the helmet. Unless this is no problem for you, then wear away! And I should worn you that in big cities, riding an Ojeg is not really that good for your lungs. Smog is a drag!
8. If you choose to use this service, it would be wise to tell the driver how you would like the trip to be. Faster? Slower? Safely? Making stops at ATM? or drive like lightning (they can you know, just be ready to have your heart pumping)? Make your note up front.
I wonder why my ojek driver doesn’t look too happy?
I personally love the ojek because it doesn’t take as long as a taxi does. They’re my No.1 transport in Jakarta considering the traffic jam it is constantly in. While traveling, ojek is also a great transportation to use if you don’t know a destination or if you have several stops especially where there are less public transportation around. And while some consider it a minus, I consider ojek a great way to get a tan. ojek drivers also have different personalities that taxi drivers. They are more street-smart and simple minded compared to taxi drivers that are probably more knowledgeable which still makes them interesting people to scream to (you can’t really talk to the driver on a motorbike right?). I’ll take an ojek anytime! It might not be your No.1 transportation if you’re on a tight budget, but it surely can be an alternative way of taking you to the doorstep of your destination.