Get around on a private motorcycle on your next vacation

Motorcycles can navigate congested streets better, so if you want to get to your destination fast, summon a two-wheeled ride via these apps

An illustration of three motorcycles, against the backdrop of a city

Go-Jek

Jakarta suffers about US$5 billion in annual losses due to its notorious macet (traffic). But things aren’t completely hopeless yet; many residents (and a growing number of tourists) now bypass the logjam by turning to smaller, nimbler vehicles: motorcycles.

Getting from point A to point B — a long, painful wait inside a car — takes minutes when riding an ojek, the Indonesian motorcycle taxi. The role of ojek has since evolved, and they now do more than ferry passengers; Indonesians also hire them for courier services, or to run errands.

So it was only a matter of time before somebody thought: You know what would really rock? An ojek you can summon on your cellphone. Enter Go-Jek: an ojek dispatching service bundled in a handy smartphone app.

Just as ordinary ojek riders serve as chauffeurs, couriers and personal shoppers simultaneously, so do Go-Jek’s uniformed motorcyclists. Want to grab something you forgot at home without leaving the office? Send that package over to the next street? Pick up your laundry or groceries? All you need are SMS, WhatsApp or the Go-Jek app to summon your own ojek and get these all done in a jiffy.

As demand for Go-Jek’s services rose, the developers found new ways to get people on board. Users can now select Go-Mart, which lets customers remotely buy up to IDR1 million (about PHP3,452) in groceries from participating supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores around Jabodetabek in Jakarta. The Go-Food option gives you takeout on steroids, with your friendly ojek driver bringing you food from your favorite restaurants.

go-jek.com; free for download from the App Store and Google Play

Also read: Jakarta city guide

GrabBike

Go-Jek’s services, for now, remain limited to Jakarta and other major Indonesian cities. In congested cities like Bangkok, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, in order to bypass city traffic on two wheels, users can call on a GrabBike on their mobile phones.

GrabBike, for now, is limited to just transportation, but they’re nothing if not adaptable. On the GrabTaxi app, users can now select GrabExpress, which uses GrabBikes to courier your items within most of Metro Manila for a flat fee of PHP80.

grabtaxi.com; free for download from the App Store and Google Play

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Smile magazine.

Written by

Mike Aquino

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