Tourism Minister Arief Yahya officially launched GrabAndong, a horse-drawn carriage ride-hailing service for travelers visiting the Malioboro area in downtown Yogyakarta, which can be accessed through the Grab application.
“With the support of technology, hopefully more travelers will visit the tourist destinations here,” Arief said in his speech at the launch of the service during the Malioboro Night Festival on Friday.
Andong, traditional horse-drawn carriages, are available along the city’s legendary Jl. Malioboro for tourists to explore the area. A trip usually costs Rp 100,000 (US$7).
Arief said a survey revealed that almost 70 percent of tourists, 50 percent of which are of the so-called millennial generation, uses digital technology to seek attractions.
“The use of digital technology is unavoidable and this is good as it supports tourism activities,” Arief said.
He expressed an appreciation for the ride-hailing company Grab for continuing its partnership with the government to support the Wonderful Indonesia program by improving the quality of its transportation services in tourist destinations.
Grab previously launched GrabBajaj in Jakarta, GrabBetor in Medan and GrabBentor in Gorontalo.
Andong driver Zaenuri said that Grab application benefits him because it enables him to get passengers without having to wait along Jl. Malioboro, a busy street that could only accommodate a limited number of carriages.
With the application, he said, he could wait somewhere around Malioboro within a radius of 500 meters.
“The tariff is Rp 150,000 per hour and we can take them anywhere,” he said, adding that overtime is charged at Rp 1,250 per minute.
On Saturday, the first day GrabAndong operated, andong driver Riyanto who was seen waiting for passengers in front of the Beringharjo Market, said that by the afternoon he had not gotten any passengers.
“Actually, I am still confused with the application. I don’t know what to do if I get an order from the application,” said Riyanto while checking on it.
He also said he had yet to understand the net earnings he would get from his service, arguing that the publicity about GrabAndong was not that comprehensive.
Grab Indonesia Managing Director Neneng Goenadi said the service was offered to tourists wanting to enjoy the traditional mode of transportation.
Operated in cooperation with the Yogyakarta Andong Association and Gadjah Mada University’s (UGM) Veterinary School, some of the profits from the operation of GrabAndong would be used to maintain the health and welfare of the horses.
“We assure that the horses used for GrabAndong are healthy and well taken care of,” Neneng said.
As a start, of some 500 andong operating in Yogyakarta, only 26 joined GrabAndong. Some 200 more are expected to join in the next six months.
Yogyakarta’s Sultan Hamengku Buwono X warmly welcomed the launch of GrabAndong. “Hopefully this will help increase the tourists’ length of stay and spending in Yogyakarta,” he said. (yun/mut)