Taking charge

Upswing in Indonesian motorbike taxis driven by women, for women

This picture taken on November 22, 2015 shows a female motorcycle taxi driver (centre R) traveling with a passenger in Jakarta. A flurry of new motorbike taxi options have in the past year appeared in the metropolis of 10 million. (BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Motorbike taxi services have taken Indonesia by storm the past year, and more so than in other countries in Indonesia’s motorbike taxi companies are employing female drivers, often to cater specifically to female customers. One such motorbike taxi service, Ojek Syari, takes aim at devout female passengers of the predominantly Muslim country by requiring its drivers to be Muslim women wearing headscarves and loose-fitting clothes. Conservative interpretations of Islam require women to wear headscarves and avoid close contact with the opposite sex. The service, which only accepts female passengers or children, began in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya in March before expanding across Java, expanding from one driver, the company’s founder, to 350.

Religious concerns, as well as safety concerns due to reports of stalking of female customers by male drivers, make services such as Ojek Syari a valuable niche. These services are however unlikely to challenge Indonesia’s leading motorbike taxi service, Go-Jek, since the majority of the country’s women practice a moderate form of Islam and have no qualms with being driven by men.

Read the full story at Channel News Asia.


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