Uber launches online ojek service UberMOTOR (with lower rates than Go-Jek and GrabBike)

The level of competition in Jakarta’s rapidly growing motorcycle taxi market has just been raised to another level. After more than a year of rivals Go-Jek and Grab battling it out to see who would come out on top in the online ojek business, global transport service giant Uber has stepped into the ring with its very own motorcycle taxi hailing service, which they’ve named UberMOTOR and luanched in Jakarta today. The service is already available within the Uber app once you’ve updated it.

Uber is clearly playing for keeps, introducing its new service with prices that, at least for now, undercut Go-Jek and GrabBikes already low rates. Calling UberMOTOR “the most affordable ride in town” on its launch website, the company published the following rates:

BASE FARE: Rp. 1.000
PER KM: Rp. 1.000
PER MIN: Rp. 100

Just to compare, we calculated the cost of a trip from a location in Bintaro to Pondok Indah Mall using all three major ojek apps at around 9am this morning. These are the prices the apps gave us.

UberMOTOR: Rp 9,500 – Rp 12,000
GrabBike: Rp 27,000
Go-Jek: Rp 20,000

(However, we have to note that, on the first day of its launch, we couldn’t find any actual UberMOTOR drivers through the app, even when we set our pickup location to a busy area like Mal Ambassador on Jl. Prof Dr Satrio)

Uber is also giving free rides to first time users who use the promo code “UberMOTOR”. The  free ride is worth up to Rp 75,000 and is valid until July.

It will be very interesting to see what the government and public reactions will be to Uber entering the online ojek market. Since it started its car-hailing services in Jakarta in late 2014, Uber has been fighting the government and traditional taxi companies who said Uber was unfairly flaunting public transport regulations (the government is now drafting new laws to regulate them and similar services). At the same time, ojek apps Go-Jek and GrabBike have had far fewer regulatory challenges, so that might be one reason why Uber is moving into their market.

Uber’s expansion into another transportation sector will no doubt upset many of the same public transportation drivers who held violent demonstrations against app-based transport services on March 22

One thing we know for sure – the UberMOTOR driver uniforms look much cooler than those of its competitors. Since a dislike of the uniform was one of the reason some traditional ojeks gave for not wanting to join Go-Jek, this may give Uber another edge in the competition. They’re definitely going to need to recruit a lot of drivers, and fast, if they hope to compete with the green-jacket guys. 

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