Pickup Truck Fail

Ok, so I think Ive become fairly versed in the Ojek trade so Id like to share (Lida read: show off) what I think I know. No mater what, as a westerner, youll always be charged the Bule tax but there are a few things you can do to make sure you dont get completely ripped off and enjoy the ride.

The Business:

  1. Always have correct change for the agreed upon price, they will never have change and any additional time will result in them asking for more money. Tips arent necessary theyre kinda built-in (see Bule tax above).
  2. When bargaining, much like buying a car the walk-away  method always works but make sure youre ok with walking away. Ojek drivers are notoriously lazy and depending on the day may prefer that you walk away. But dont worry, there are about as many Ojek stands as there are Mosques.
  3. If you are skittish about riding with a helmet make sure you ask as this isnt standard equipment. Of coarse, if you are skittish at all, Ojek may not be the best mode of transportation for you.
     
  4. If you are traveling with a partner and arrange a price, the phrase “untuk ber dua”, for both, will be very useful. Once you get to your destination, regardless of your hand gestures during the bargaining process, they will suddenly speak perfect english and insist that the price was per person.
  5. If you are riding by yourself it will definitely be cheaper than a taxi. With two riders you may be breaking even or perhaps paying a bit more but the real value is time. With traffic in Jakarta you can easily take 1-2 hours to got 2 or 3 kilometers, with the Ojek drivers lack of discipline or care for common street rules he can get you there in 1/10th of the time.
  6. Less populated the area the more friendly they tend to be I think but thats not a rule. Inevitably youll end up with the SE Asian equivalent of Evil Kanevil.  Dont worry youll get there safe and if you dont, it will be over so fast you wont feel a thing.

 

The Ride:

  1. Sunglasses might be a good idea.  Most of the helmets are skullcaps so no visor.
  2. Pants or shorts with buttons on them would be best. Wallets tend to slip. Otherwise but everything in your front pockets.
  3. Some drivers are more patient than others, some want to get the white devil off their ride ASAP. With the latter, common riding rules will help you not soil your paints such as lean away from the turns and dont stare straight ahead, lest you get a bug in a oraphis.
  4. If youre paranoid about the pollution, besides being in the wrong city, you may want to get a mask, you can buy them for 1000 rupiah ($.10) .             
  5. Get fresh with your driver if need be. Grab on to his shoulders or waist, with all the starting and stopping youll be glad for it.  If you prefer your personal space or for the homophobic guys you can grab on to the oh-shit-bar at the back, however some of the newer bikes make this a bit more complicated with extra fat bars.
  6. If starring straight ahead while your driver is going the wrong way down a one way at 50 kph  makes you a bit nervous, try looking to the left or right. After all, when one of the food vendors pushes their cart in front of your driver at the last second, sending you flying into the air in route to striking any number of deadly inanimate objects or under a bus, theres really nothing thats going to help you, just let it go.

Personally I love Ojek. Its fun, fast and helps me practice what little Bahasa I know.

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