Usually, it’s the drivers who help out hitchhikers by offering them a ride, but in Indonesia’s capital city, it’s the other way around. Professional hitchhikers get paid to ride in complete strangers’ cars and help them reach their destination faster.
The world’s sixth largest metropolis, Jakarta has a population of over 30 million and around 20 million registered cars. Unfortunately, its infrastructure is far less advanced than that of other large cities like New York, Tokyo or Singapore, which means traffic is terrible. In order to ease jams, authorities have created “Three in One” zones which can only be accessed by vehicles carrying at least three passengers. The measure was successful to some extent, only it also spawned a whole new industry – professional hitchhiking. Every morning, poor Indonesians from the outskirts of Jakarta can be seen lining the sidewalks near entry points to Three in One zones, offering themselves to commuters in a hurry. They are known as jockeys, and unlike regular hitchhikers, they don’t raise their thumbs up to drivers, but their index finger to signal a jockey working solo, and the extra middle finger to signal a couple, usually a mother and a baby.