If you want to get there quick, it’s always best to travel like a local. In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, motorbike taxis, known as ojeks, have long been the best way to get around. Now, tech companies like Grab have revolutionised the service. Working like Uber for two-wheelers, they’ve made it safer (helmets for all passengers and police checks on drivers) and, by collecting data on its drivers’ traffic-skipping savvy, far quicker, too.
Co-founder Hooi Ling Tan claimed earlier this year, its route-planning is now better than Google’s. She also says her tech has been a game-changer for traffic safety. “We monitor GrabBike riders’ speed to remind them to drive safely, resulting in a 35 per cent reduction in speeding.” Other innovations have also helped Grab and competitor Go-Jek face down ride-share megalith Uber. GrabHitch allows Jakarta’s legion suburban commuters to advertise their route to paying passengers while Ladyjek is a female-only service targeted at Sharia-compliant Muslims. Grab now reckon it’s cornered a 95 per cent share of the ride-share market in South-East Asia, all through local insight. “[Uber] is discovering they have to learn from us,” adds Tan.
Words by Jenny Hewett