Here’s a test you never had to take in Driver’s Education Class: Seeing whether or not you have bad body odor.
That’s what’s happening to taxi drivers interviewing for jobs at UberJek, a new app-based ride-sharing company in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“To select our drivers, applicants will be tested on traffic knowledge, their motorcycles’ condition, and a body odor test,” said UberJek founder Aris Wahyudi.
Motorcycle taxi drivers work the same way as traditional drivers, only instead of riding in the back of a car, you hop on the back of a taxi. This makes for quick navigation through the crowded streets, but also puts you intimately close to your driver. Which begs the question: Why do taxi drivers smell so bad in general, and particularly here?
It’s noted that these motorcycle taxi drivers spend most of their days riding through the heat and pollution of Jakarta’s streets, which is far worse than what we experience in the west. As a result, they often have terrible body odor. But the owners of UberJek, who are not related to the U.S. company Uber, are trying to make a difference for their customers.
In the video above, drivers are seen standing in front of a fan with an UberJek employee standing behind them to see how they smell. As the one odor tester, Engang Ahamad says, “We will allow people to pass if they have the smell of sweat, without the odor. But for the ones with both sweat and armpit odor we will not give a pass.”
There are now nearly 40 such firms operating in Indonesia where temperatures soar and public transportation is patchy. UberJek is hoping to stand out by not smelling.
No word yet on whether or not U.S. companies will be taking on this practice.