Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Economy of car pooling!

In Jakarta there was something which puzzled me, it was to see a lot of people standing at the road side and signaling to the driver with either one or two of their fingers. Earlier I used to think that they were hitch hikers or some street sellers.

I got curious and asked a local for explanation. I  was told since Jakarta is known for its notorious traffic jams, the authorities have a rule on the minimum number of people who should be in a vehicle during busy hours. If the number in the vehicle is less than three the driver might gets a ticket(fined). The best part of this legislation is that it has "created" an unintended "economy". People come and stay at the road side in the morning and take a ride along the highway stretch and get paid for travelling (a value less than the fine). They are referred as car pooling jockeys.You would see even women carrying little children, they would signal two to show that, you get two passengers, which will satisfy the minimum three passenger quota in a vehicle. Drivers happily take them since its like a two in one offer.

Intially I was thinking what a sin, then my local friend explained that these people if not for this might have been doing something worse to make money, when compared to those this is a better way of earning a living, Then he asked who wouldn't like to be chauffer driven around the city and get paid for it! I couldn't put up any argument for that. What fascinates me is the legislative intent and how a section of the society had adopted it!

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