Ojek or motorcycle taxis began appearing in Jakarta after the becak were banned in 1994. Ojek service began as a people’s initiative to provide a transportation options for people who used to use becak from main roads into housing complexes. There is no government licensing for or control over ojek.
Motorcycle taxis are a very common, but unlicensed, form of transport in Indonesia. They can be found in most areas of the country, from the towns where traffic jams sometimes greatly hinder other forms of transport to rural areas where four-wheeled vehicles cannot travel. Would-be passenger usually haggle with the driver over the fee which is generally around IDR 5,000 to IDR 10,000 (about 50¢ to US$ 1) for short trips. So bargain before you get on or ask a local what the price should be first.
By law all motorcycle passengers should wear helmets, so ojek drivers should have a spare for you to wear. Ojek tend to congregate at t-junctions on main roads and near smaller roads that are not serviced by bus routes. Ladies have a careful balancing act if wearing a dress and must sit sidewise on the back of the vehicle.
Many motorcycle taxi drivers own their vehicles or are paying installments for them through credit. The availability of cheap Indonesian-made motorcycles from Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki and some cheaper Chinese imports combined with the ease with which driver’s licenses can be obtained and credit schemes has resulted in the rapid growth of motorcycle taxis. However, in several areas, the motorcycles used are often stolen ones without any papers.
Indonesian law requires motorcycle riders to wear helmets. However often only the driver does so. Sometimes drivers provide a helmet for the passenger but more likely drivers will simply avoid larger streets where police might catch the violation.
Nowadays, because of traffic, ojek are often the fastest form of transport, especially in Jakarta. Many people choose ojek over taxis because, although taxies are much safer, ojek are cheaper and can easily maneuver through the traffic.