For those that are unaware, the bajaj (pronounced as ‘buh-juhy’) is the iconic three-wheeled rickshaw taxis that are a common sight in Jakarta and named after the initial manufacturer in India. The taxi has more or less become synonymous with the city itself.

Bajaj fares are generally cheaper than regular taxi cabs but a little pricier than the ojek motorcycles used for hailing due to the convenience of having a sunshade as well as more room for luggage. However, as the locals and frequent travellers can tell you, hailing a bajaj can be exhaustive for those without extensive bargaining skills. It is essentially tradition at this point to haggle down the absurd rates that some bajaj drivers offer upfront.

Add to this the rise of ride hailing apps and easy access of fixed rates that come with it, has caused bajajs to fall out of favour. There has even been speculation that the iconic taxi would be phased out sooner or later. Ride hailing firms on the other hand think otherwise.

Despite past efforts for e-hailing apps to adopt bajajs into their service more often than not ending in failure, the industry has yet to give up on the vehicle and the potential they hold. Ride hailing firms such as Grab Indonesia are determined to implement bajajs, believing that Grab’s capabilities and technology will be able to revitalise the taxi.

As the number of bajaj taxis operating in Jakarta falls, Jakarta Transportation Agency’s partnership with Grab Indonesia seeks to revive them and enables commuters to ride in a bajaj at an affordable price through the fixed pricing scheme. This helps by eliminating the haggling process because the fares are displayed before consumers order a ride.

The concept of e-hailing matching supply and demand at users’ convenience has worked very well for bajaj.

Besides meeting passengers’ daily commuting needs, it also gives hopes to bajaj drivers by welcoming them into the e-hailing ecosystem and providing an extra channel to get more orders.

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