You are here

Indonesian motorbike taxi app to ban smelly drivers

[JAKARTA] Life is about to get a little easier for Indonesians who use motorbike taxis to weave through Jakarta's notorious traffic-choked streets - a new ride-hailing app is promising to ban smelly drivers.

UberJEK, the latest in a series of smartphone-based motorbike taxi-booking services in the metropolis, has pledged to only hire drivers who pass a "body odour test" as it goes on a recruiting drive before starting operations next year.

The website of the company features a picture of a foreigner sniffing the armpit of an Indonesian man under the caption: "Sorry, if you have an armpit odour problem, you cannot be an UberJEK rider".

Motorbike taxis, known locally as "ojeks", have been ubiquitous for years in the overcrowded city of 10 million known for its monster traffic jams, but it is all too easy for drivers to get sweaty and smelly working long hours in the tropical heat.

UberJEK founder Aris Wahyudi said he decided to include the test in the recruitment process after hearing many complaints from motorbike taxi customers.

Your feedback is important to us

Tell us what you think. Email us at

"This test will be conducted for customers' satisfaction as there have been many complaints about drivers' foul-smelling body odour," Mr Wahyudi said, according to reports.

UberJEK - which is not associated with the popular US-based ride-sharing service Uber - hopes its pledge to hire only fragrant drivers will give it an edge in a crowded market that has been flooded by motorbike taxi-hailing apps over the past year.

Other services have also taken an innovative approach, such as Ladyjek and Sister Ojek, which offer female drivers for women travellers.


BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to