Friday, 15 October 2010

Bright orange and noisy - easily describes the bajaj.

Bright orange and noisy ... easily describes a bajaj. 
Or as some of us call them, the tuk tuk.

These traditional transportation vehicles became popular in India where they were developed with Vespa and later imported to and built in Indonesia. Similar vehicles are known as rickshaw in Africa, Tuk-Tuk in Thailand and MotoTaxi in Peru.

With an estimated 20,000 bajaj in Jakarta, it is evident they are very popular here too!

Bajaj seat two passengers comfortably and up to five passengers - depending on the size of the passenger of course. Their areas of operation are limited to one mayoralty in the city. On the side of the driver's doors you'll see a big circle in which the area is designated ... Jakarta Barat, Jakarta Pusat, etc., with a different color for each mayoralty. The drivers are not allowed to go out of their area and aren't allowed onto many main roads, so routes may be a bit circuitous. But I guess that may depend on the driver too!

Fare determination is by bargaining. It's always best to ask an Indonesian what they would pay for a trip to a particular destination from your point of departure, and then bargain and pay accordingly.
A ride in a bajaj is hot, utilizing AC alam - or nature's air conditioning. The ride will also be noisy, smelly (car and bus fumes), bumpy, harrowing, and a grand adventure. One of the favorite maneuver's is when the bajaj driver decides to flip a u-turn in the middle of the road.

There is some protection from the rain, unless it's blowing hard. You'd think you'd have to be careful about robbery since the vehicle is so open - but it's not as common as robberies in buses. Having said all that ... bajaj are extremely convenient in many areas of Jakarta for a short drive.
The following is the tuk tuk driver we flagged down:
and off we went

the above might give you an idea of what the journey was like
but it is hard to describe, I was disappointed I had not thought
of taking a video clip with the IPhone!
 I was under the impression they were not able to travel the 'main roads' but am not sure if what we traveled on is a designated 'main road', but it sure was busy with lorries, motorcycles, people and cars.
 The above motorcyclist managed to squeeze between us and the lorry, I still don't know how though!

the following is interesting
these men stand at the intersections and if you need to cross the road in the bajaj or in your vehicle, they will hold the traffic up (if they can) so you can get through .... 
but be ready  with the money so they can be paid.
we saw the above in one of the back lanes, 
no doubt in a hurry to get the repairs done as every minute that is 
spent "off the road" is money they are losing.
We had a great time seeing  a part of Jakarta we would otherwise not have seen 
but also very happy to be safely back 'on land' once again!
The cost was 15,000 Rupiah for about 20 minutes
(or $2.00 SGD)

1 comment:

James said...

As I sit here in chilly Durham, North Carolina, USA, it is such a pleasure to read about your trip to Jakarta. I never went when I was living in SG, but I love seeing the photos and videos (glad you have an i-phone and looking forward to more videos). Thanks for taking the time to make these posts.