【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. commuter / kəˈmyu tər / (n.) – someone who travels from one place to another, usually through public transportation
Example: Many commuters were stranded when the train stopped working.
2. maneuver / məˈnu vər / (v.) – to drive something skillfully and carefully
Example: The biker maneuvered through the narrow spaces between the cars.
3. patronize / ˈpeɪ trəˌnaɪz / (v.) – to be a regular customer of a store or service
Example: Many students patronize the school supplies store because of its affordable goods.
4. alternative / ɔlˈtɜr nə tɪv / (n.) – an available choice that can be used to replace something else
Example: Among the alternatives to riding a bus are hiring a cab or riding the train.
5. budding / ˈbʌdɪŋ / (adj.) – starting or developing
Example: The new teacher’s budding career was full of challenges.
Read the text below.
Uber has recently launched UberMOTOR, a new motorbike taxi service, in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Motorbike taxis, locally known as ojeks, are motorbikes that can be hired by commuters for an agreed rate. It is a common mode of transportation in Indonesia, especially in urbanized regions where roads are usually congested. This is because motorbikes allow riders to maneuver through narrow spaces and reach their destinations faster.
On April 12, the app-based transportation service officially joined the long list of companies offering motorbike taxi services in Indonesia. UberMOTOR is up against other app-based services in the area, such as fellow foreign company Grab’s GrabBike and local start-up GoJek. Uber, which is patronized by many Indonesians because of its cheap services, claims that it offers the most affordable motorbike taxi rate in the city. UberMOTOR is offered at a base rate of 1,000 Indonesian rupiah or roughly $0.08.
But while consumers are pleased with the increasing availability of cheaper transportation choices, operators of traditional modes of transportation such as taxis and buses are outraged because the cheaper alternatives are taking them out of business.
Before the service’s Jakarta launch, Uber offered the same service February this year in Thailand, calling it UberMOTO. Motorbikes are also common in the country, whose capital, Bangkok, also faces road congestion problems. The launch of the service in Thailand is expected to create thousands of work opportunities for Thais, according to Douglas Ma, Uber’s Head of Asia Expansion.
However, the budding competition with traditional transportation is feared to cause conflict in Thailand, just like in Indonesia, causing the Thai government to order Uber to halt UberMOTO. Despite this, Uber continues to offer the service.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· Would you avail of Uber’s motorbike service if it were offered in your country? Why or why not?
· How do you think would people in your country react to the motorbike service?
· What are the advantages of driving a motorbike? Discuss.
· What are the disadvantages of driving a motorbike? Discuss.