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Finally, relief for Jakartas commuters as Go-Jek links up with public bus system

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What can Jakarta, the city with the world’s worst traffic, do to make life easier for its commuters? It’s a billion-dollar question.

Today, a tiny piece of the puzzle fell into place, and it could provide future relief: the on-demand motorcycle ride app Go-Jek announced a link-up with the city’s public bus network, the Transjakarta busway.

The new feature lets Go-Jek passengers hitch a motorcycle ride to the nearest busway stop, and offers updates on the bus schedule in real-time. Passengers can also book a motorcycle to pick them up at the bus stop to get them to their final destination.

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What sounds like a minor announcement is actually pretty awesome, for several reasons.

Make busses mainstream

So far, Jakarta’s public transportation network is underdeveloped, making it ineffective unless you live immediately next to a bus or train corridors.

With this new feature, Go-Jek turned itself into the solution that fills the gap between your home, the bus, and your destination. Before, you would have had to get into a taxi or car to reach the nearest stop – time wasted. Or you could have taken one of the abundant unofficial motorcycle taxis, but many citizens think those are unsafe and inappropriate.

Go-Jek, with its vetted bikes, driver rating system, and new helmets for passengers, could become an acceptable solution for the mainstream commuter. Once the problem of how to get to the stop is solved, passengers might be surprised to find that the condition of buses is improving and cashless payment systems are being introduced.

It proves Jakarta’s governor is serious about adopting smart technologies

Jakarta’s governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (more often called Ahok), first talked about plans to integrate Go-Jek with Transjakarta months ago (link in Indonesian). He said he also wanted a Transjakarta integration with Qlue, Jakarta’s smart city app. Both of those integrations have happened now. Qlue provides real-time data on the position of buses, and Go-Jek gets passengers to their nearest stop on time.

Ahok proves to be consistent and pragmatic in his vision for how technology can help solve some of Jakarta’s issues. The way he’s publicly supported Qlue and Go-Jek is encouraging for future entrepreneurs with solutions for Jakarta’s problems.

Integrated payment?

The link-up between Jakarta’s bus network and Go-Jek could become even more attractive if the two services integrated their payments system.

Plans to integrate payments were not part of the feature announcement today, but they would make sense in the future. Go-Jek now heavily discounts its fares to attract passengers to get accustomed to the relatively new service. With just IDR 15,000 (US$1.1), I can ride across the entire city. But this can’t go on forever. Once the promotion days are over and Go-Jek rides cost about as much as a regular taxi, passengers will think twice before traveling the whole distance on the back of a motorbike. Cheap public buses will become more interesting. Go-Jek and the city government could join forces in subsidizing motorcycle rides to and from the bus stop, perhaps even making it possible to pay for the entire journey at once.

On-demand rides can’t replace public transport

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The arrival of on-demand ride apps like Uber, GrabTaxi, GrabCar, and its two-wheel variants, Go-Jek and GrabBike, have given Jakarta citizens more options and convenience. But they don’t have much effect on easing the traffic situation. Real change, I believe, can only come about when mass public transport becomes the cheapest, fastest way to get around, at a reasonable level of convenience and, of course, safety.

What do you think about this link-up? Does it have potential to get more Jakartans use the busway instead of private cars? Or will on-demand-rides eventually replace the need for any mass public transport? Let me know what you think in the comments.

This post Finally, relief for Jakarta’s commuters as Go-Jek links up with public bus system appeared first on Tech in Asia.

This article, Finally, relief for Jakartas commuters as Go-Jek links up with public bus system, first appeared on Tech in Asia.