Usually, it’s the driver doing the hitchhiker a favour when they pull up and offer a ride, but in Jakarta, the opposite is true. Professional hitchhikers get paid to assist drivers in reaching their destination safely and efficiently.
With 30 million people residing in Indonesia’s capital city and 20 million cars on the road, driving and getting anywhere fast can be a bit of a nightmare. In fact with so much congestion and lack of resources, the road network is pretty much non-existant — forcing authorities to create zones only accessible to cars carrying at least three passengers.
This is where the professional hitchhikers come in — as long as there are at least two of them for every one driver who needs to get somewhere quick (typically the hitchhikers will be with child). The driver pays to get the extra bodies in his car and thus access to quicker and safer routes.
“Jockeys” as they’re called can make up to $7.5 a day, which is a lot of money in a country where most are forced to get by on just $1 a day.
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