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Indonesia’s ‘Uber of moto-taxis’ is even more hated than Uber

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A driver for taxi-hailing app Go-Jek transports a customer on the back of a motorbike in Jakarta, Indonesia.Photograph by Adek Berry — AFP/Getty Images

In Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, where the typical taxi is actually a motorbike called an “ojek,” a local company called Go-Jek recently launched an app for hailing the moto-taxis, similar to Uber’s app for ordering rides in a car.

But while Uber has faced backlash and government bans from the Hamptons to Germany to Mumbai, the protests have not been nearly as vicious as the violent retaliation directed at Go-Jek in Indonesia. While Jakarta’s notorious traffic congestion has long meant that ojeks are in high demand, the traditional motorcycle taxi drivers have complained that Go-Jek is stealing their customers and hurting their livelihood, and they’ve begun to fight back, according to a report in USA Today:

Go-jek drivers have been beaten up, threatened, and chased out of what ojek drivers see as “their” territory. Boris Anggoro was attacked while using Go-jek. “A local ojek driver came, he started yelling at us ‘what are you doing here!’ he threatened my driver and tried to take his helmet off him.”

Even a female Go-Jek driver was “hit and cursed” by an enraged ojek driver in July, according to the Jakarta Post:

Out of the blue, an ojek driver named Bambang punched her head (she was wearing a helmet at the time) and repeatedly pointed his finger at her with angry gestures.

At least Uber drivers, safely inside their cars, have more than a helmet to protect them from the angry mobs, especially ones “wielding brass knuckles and hammers.