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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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Longer Exposure to Honking Traffic Makes You Obese

For the study, the researchers involved 3,796 adults and examined body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, body fat, central obesity and overweight

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Traffic Kolkata, Wikimedia

Are you obese or overweight? Blame long term exposure to blaring horns and other noise from road traffic, said researchers.

The study showed that a 10 decibel (dB) increase in mean noise level was associated with a 17 per cent increase in obesity.

“Our analysis shows that people exposed to the highest levels of traffic noise are at greater risk of being obese” said Maria Foraster, lead researcher from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain.

It could be because noise generates stress and affects our sleep. It alters hormone levels and increases blood pressure.

Moreover, among other effects, sleep disturbance deregulates glucose metabolism and alters the appetite, the researchers explained in the paper published in the journal Environment International.

Long term exposure to honking traffic can make you obese. Flickr

“In the long term, these effects could give rise to chronic physiological alterations, which would explain the proven association between persistent exposure to traffic-related noise and cardiovascular disease or the more recently discovered associations with diabetes and obesity,” Foraster said.

“Our findings suggest that reducing traffic-related noise could also be a way of combating the obesity epidemic,” he noted.

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For the study, the researchers involved 3,796 adults and examined body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, body fat, central obesity and overweight.

They also analysed exposure to noise generated by aircraft and railway traffic and found no significant associations except in the case of long-term exposure to railway noise, which was associated with a higher risk of overweight but not of obesity. (IANS)