Former odd-jobber and GrabBike driver Syahrier. (Photo Courtesy of Grab)

This Former Odd-Jobber Shares His Struggle Before Joining GrabBike


FEBRUARY 22, 2021

Jakarta. From doing odd jobs to becoming an online motor taxi driver for ride-hailing app Grab, Syahrier's journey to make ends meet is quite the roller coaster ride.

With only a middle school diploma, Ucok —or so Syahrier is called— could only land manual, low-paying jobs. Garbage collector, ship's cook, electrician and sarong seller were only few of the many jobs that Ucok had taken.

"I was even once a handyman for drilled wells," Ucok said, as quoted from a written statement. 

In 2007, Ucok's older sibling hired him to work at a motorcycle garage. The former once offered Ucok to operate heavy equipment at a state-owned port Pelindo IV at Makassar. This was after Ucok began selling kerosene with the money he had collected from working at the garage.

Ucok also drove for a doctor back in 2018. But like many of his other jobs, the driver job only lasted for a short five months. This was because Ucok decided to join Grab at a friend's suggestion. When he first applied, Ucok doubted himself as he only had a middle school diploma.

Nonetheless, the Makassar-born man took on his first ride-hailing booking in early January 2019. Little did he know this would mark the end of his "job-hunting" phase.

"I'm thankful there are jobs that are open for middle school graduates. The job is not as difficult as back when I was a laborer," Ucok said.

Ucok admitted managing family time is easier as a GrabBike driver. With Grab, the father of three also began to save gold for his children's future  — something impossible to do during his days working odd jobs.

"I now have gold savings as a result of Grab's partnership with Pegadaian and this is all in GrabBenefits. I would like to thank Grab for giving various benefits to improve their partner's wellbeing. [Drivers] can pay for motorbikes in installments without down payment, purchase a house, gold among others," Ucok said.

Grab has teamed up with state-owned pawnshop Pegadaian to enable saving and financing facilities for its driver-partners.

Last January, think-tanks Tenggara Statistics and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Institute conducted a survey involving partners of Grab's services -- namely GrabBike, GrabCar, GrabFood, and GrabKios. As many as 5,008 partners across 12 major cities took the survey.

The study revealed Grab helps create new job opportunities especially for those who have recently lost their jobs. In 2019,  31 percent of GrabBike drivers percent of GrabBike drivers had no income before joining Grab. Sixty five percent GrabBike drivers taking the survey considered driving with Grab as their main occupation.