Last week to highlight the fact that Taxi drivers and small bus drivers and many other transportation drivers across the city are unhappy, they all went on strike and created general chaos over Jakarta because Uber and Grab online transport apps are cheaper and therefore making traditional drivers lose money and business.
The strike looked like this (The Jakarta Post)
The demonstration involved around 10,000 people and vehicles resulting in many roads being blocked or shut by these demonstrators. So much so that I decided not to ride as it would take me too long to get to work and back.
Close down Uber and Grab Car (The Jakarta Post)
So to support the taxi drivers reasons to stop work I booked a grab car and went to work. Had I managed to find a taxi and then convinced him to drive me through the streets, there would had been a chance he would have been attacked and hurt by others who disagree with someone trying to earn a living instead of asserting their right to demonstrate. I wont discuss the appalling behaviours of some of the drivers and the violence that came with it as there is no point.
So, whats all the big fuss about? Well Money.
If I book a Blue Bird Taxi from my house to Work the average costs are these:
Booked Taxi Fee minimum payment 40,000 idr or 2 pounds (this is not extra just a rule) Toll through the city 11,500 idr or 75 pence Total Taxi fare 85,000 idr or around 5 pounds
So just over 5 pounds in British money or 96,500 in rupiah but its metered so this amount can be more or sometimes slightly less.
I would have to wait at least 20 minutes and provide directions to my house and then to the tollway and to work. The car is fairly clean on the inside. The odd insect or cockroach might wander in and the last passengers tissues can sometimes be found, also depending on the driver also means different driving styles and speeds and levels of danger.
If I book a Grab Car through my phone then these are the costs
Minimum booking fee Nil Toll through the city 11,500 idr or 75 pence Total Agreed before booking fare 65,000 idr or just over 3 Pounds
A total of 76,500 rupiah or 4 pounds. A saving of say my lunch money.
And whilst its not a lot if you compare it to English Money buts that just to help. In Indonesian it soon adds up. The trip on the way home in a taxi costs over 100,000 rupiah every time and in a Grab Car around 75,000. So eventually it is expensive. (200k in a taxi minimum vs around 150,00 in a grab car. If daily that's 50,000 rupiah a day saved).
When I book a Grab Car, it arrives within 20 minutes, so far in less than 10 minutes. The car is spotlessly clean inside because it is a private vehicle, often new or nearly new. The driver can speak some English and is polite and knows his way to the Toll and where I need to go without hardly any directions. If I tip then he is surprised. And its a nice trip.
Screen Shot of how to track a booked car
Quite simply I save money vs taxis if I use Grab Car. If I use Uber it is even cheaper and the service is just as good. The cost is estimated at the start within a price range so you have a good idea what to pay.
The argument is that the transportation groups want Uber and Grab to pay more tax and to increase their fares because the vehicles are unlicensed. This will happen in some sort of fashion. However like the rest of the world, when fuel goes up in price so does the price of a taxi. That happened here. But the price fell through 2015 and will be decreased again in April. But Taxi companies have not reduced their fares. So now they have been told to so that they can be more competitive and perhaps they might.
The pros and cons of it all make you dizzy but the ultimate fact has yet to realised by Taxi companies and drivers and that is a simple one. People wont pay for something that is mediocre because that is all there is when you can pay for something that is cheaper and better to do the same thing such as Grab Car or Uber.
I have almost entirely switched from Taxis now as Uber and Grab are less expensive and nicer and less hassle. I will still use Taxis if I have no other choice but that's about it.
Here are some other I can get to work
GoJek – Motor Bike Taxi – 36k
Grab Bike – Motor Bike Taxi – 25k Buses 14k (takes forever and is pointless) My own bike I have no idea of the basic daily cost but very little I'm sure.
I normally take my own bike unless Gojek or Grab bike have promotions then I am happy to sit on the back and watch the world go by.