I don’t understand the reason behind it, but in Indonesia, it is forbidden for Grab and Go-jek drivers to pick up people from train stations, bus stations, and other touristic hotspots. But there is a simple way to avoid to get ripped off and here’s what you can do about it.
But first: What the hell is Grab?
Grab (Or Go-jek) is for Asia what Uber is for western countries. It’s an app where you can order taxis and motorbike taxis and even pay online. But you can also order food or let things get delivered. T’s easy, fast, convenient and you don’t get ripped off just because you are a tourist. You have the privilege to get the local prices which is a rare opportunity in Asia. The good part is that you can pay by credit card, you need to register yourself (done in 3 mins), and a sim card with Internet and you’re good to go. The app works in every Asian country I’ve been to (Except for China – they have their apps), and it’s my best friend. I don’t want to imagine how much money I saved like that. In short: Grab is THE MUST HAVE APP while traveling in Asia.
Regular Taxi drivers hate the Grab drivers – of course – because it’s getting more difficult to rip off tourists. But hey, the world is moving, everything gets online, and they should start making honest money. I just love this app!
What’s going on in Indonesia?
In Indonesia however, I could witness a phenomenon I haven’t seen before, and I don’t get it. Around train stations, bus stations and on tourist spots it’s forbidden for Grab or Go-jek drivers to pick up people. Basically, everywhere where a lot of tourists are. There must be some sort of corruption behind this because it doesn’t make sense to me. Why should the government help the taxi drivers to rip off tourists?
What is the result of that?
When you exit a train station or a bus station and try to get a grab, it is not possible for you to order one. Or they cancel the booking or ask you to chancel it, often without an explanation. Well, the answer is straightforward, they are not allowed to pick you up, but there English is too bad to explain it to you. It took me a few attempts to find out what’s going on. And then I also finally saw the signs, and I knew what was going on. So tourists are kind of forced to take the taxis on the station, and you can be sure to get ripped off! I tried to get a Grab, and the price was 25.000 INR while waiting the taxi driver on the station said the grab couldn’t come here and I should go with him. I asked the price, and he would not go under 50.000 INR – the double. And you can be sure if you take a regular taxi anywhere in Asia without a taximeter you’ll pay at least twice the price from Grab – if not five times the amount. And with the taximeter, they probably make some detours. In fact, with this measure, the government or whoever is behind this is helping taxi drivers to rip off tourists – looks like a warm welcome for me.
What can you do about it?
The solution to this problem is as simple as it gets – just walk a few hundred meters away from the station and order your Grab from there. Usually around 200 to 300 meters away from the stations you can find a sign that forbids Grab or Go-Jek drivers. Walk behind this sign, and you are good to go. What I do is just walking until the sign and order my Grab there and then smile to the other taxi driver as I climb on the Grab bike. It makes the dishonest drivers go crazy, but I want to set a sign against these drivers – in some form you can speak of racism when white people have to pay more than locals.
So Grab is the MUST HAVE App in South East Asia and in Indonesia you just have to walk a few meters behind the signs that forbid Grab drivers to enter. Like that, you save a hell of a lot of money and hustle with taxis.
- Total countries I visited until now: 33
- Planes: 7
- Busses: 35
- Trains: 18
- Boats: 16
- Km running: 1323