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A mobile App ‘Go-Jek’ relieves people of maddening traffic in Jakarta, Indonesia

Go-Jek says, it has more than 200,000 drivers around Indonesia

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Go-Jek, An Ojek For Every Need Image Source:Flickr
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  • Go-Jek’s vision is to escape competition by creating an on-demand platform for anything the consumer wants
  • With rides on motorcycles,Go-Jek has built on the usual strategy of providing rides to introduce a slew of additional Go- services to the app
  • The sudden success over the past two years took even its founder by surprise

s.The ride-hailing apps that are now part of daily life from New York to New Delhi and London are usually used to summon cars. Jakarta, the world’s sixth-largest urban sprawl and by some measures the most car-clogged, needed something different.

Go-Jek became a  sudden success over the past two years and took even its founder by surprise. “We really had no idea it would be adopted so widely and so quickly,” said Nadiem Makarim, who admits the company and its app struggled to keep pace when tens of thousands began downloading it. Makarim believes Jakarta’s carmageddon had arrived at a “pain point” of huge unmet demand for a solution.

As by far the biggest economy in Southeast Asia, making up a third of the region’s gross domestic product, Indonesia has also attracted Uber and Go-Jek’s fiercest competitor, Malaysia’s Grab, which is headed by Makarim’s Harvard classmate Anthony Tan.

Go-Jek has built on the usual strategy of providing rides to introduce a slew of additional Go- services to the app, including delivering food, groceries, cleaners, massage therapists and beauticians to homes.

The Go-Send document pickup and delivery service and Go-Food are the company’s two biggest businesses after rides, Makarim said. Go-Food, he said, has become the biggest food delivery business in Southeast Asia by number of transactions.

“Go-Jek’s vision is to escape competition by creating an on-demand platform for anything our consumer wants,” he said. “We’re not stuck on our identity based on what we think it should be. We let the market decide what they want us to be.”

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Go-Jek logo Image Source:Wikimedia Commons

Like elsewhere, ride hailing apps are drawing an angry backlash from taxi drivers as their incomes drop. In March, a protest by thousands of taxi drivers that paralyzed the capital turned violent, with cabbies brawling in the streets with green-jacketed drivers from Go-Jek and Grab.

Go-Jek says it has more than 200,000 drivers around Indonesia but the pain for taxis seems most acute in Jakarta, where all the ride hailing services are battling fiercely for customers, pushing fares to rock bottom.

Yet the apps have proven so useful to people in a city where officials estimate congestion causes losses of $3 billion a year that attempts to ban them on the basis of claims of unfair competition have failed.

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When the transport minister issued a directive last December banning app-based ojeks, the public outcry was such that President Joko Widodo quickly overruled the decision.

“We want to make Indonesia proud that this is a uniquely Indonesian company that was started here,” Makarim said. The nationalistic appeal of a home-grown tech success is also a potent advantage for the company. (VOA)

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Uber Rolls New Safety Feature in Case of a Crash

You can expect to see these features in your app over the coming months, and there's more to come.

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Uber's new safety feature turns smartphones into crash detectors (VOA)

Ride-hailing major Uber has introduced several new features including one that can give passengers the tools that are needed to get help quickly in the event of a possible crash.

The feature, called Ride Check, harnesses the power of GPS and other sensors in the driver’s smartphone to detect possible crash.

“When a Ride Check is initiated, riders and drivers will be prompted to use our Safety Toolkit, which includes the option for 911 assistance. Our safety team can also followup by phone to make sure everyone is safe,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Uber launched the “Safety Toolkit” and in-app emergency button for riders in April and these features are now available across India, Canada, and the US, as well as countries throughout Latin America.

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App-based Cab Uber. Wikimedia

The Ride Check feature can also flag trip irregularities beyond crashes.

For example, if there is a long, unexpected stop during a trip, both the rider and the driver will receive a Ride Check notification to ask if everything is all right.

“They can let us know through the app that all is well, or take other actions like using the emergency button or reporting the issue to Uber’s critical safety line,” Khosrowshahi said.

“We expect to expand this technology to additional scenarios in the future,” he added.

Uber also announced that it would soon start voice-activated commands designed to offer drivers and delivery partners a hands-free way to interact with the Uber app, so they can accept trips and communicate with customers using just their voice.

To protect the privacy of users, Uber’s Driver app would only show the general area where a trip started and ended, not the address, Khosrowshahi said.

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The feature, called Ride Check, harnesses the power of GPS and other sensors in the driver’s smartphone to detect possible crash Pixabay

Uber also announced that it was extending the two-step verification process to give riders the option to use this feature every time they log into their account.

Also Read: Ola Expands its business, Starts Services in UK

So one can now choose to use text messages or third-party authentication apps like Google Authenticator, Authy, or Duo by visiting their account settings and selecting their preferred method.

“You can expect to see these features in your app over the coming months, and there’s more to come. That’s because when it comes to safety, our work is never done,” Khosrowshahi said. (IANS)