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A Unique Solution to Traffic
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

Jakarta, Indonesia is a city on the rise. As people relocate to the capital in search of better-paying jobs, the city’s population is steadily increasing. With this increase in population comes an increase in traffic. Cars, buses, motorbikes, and bicycles: all compete for space on the roads of Jakarta. This causes frequent traffic jams. However, the local government has been slow to address the problem. In the meantime, a group of people have taken it upon themselves to solve Jakarta’s traffic woes. They are known as Pak Ogah.

Pak Ogah are unofficial traffic police. They are not paid or officially recognized by the city of Jakarta. Rather, they are volunteers who choose to stand in the middle of busy streets and direct traffic. They help traffic to flow more quickly, and in return, they ask for a small tip of one hundred rupiah per driver, an amount equal to just under one penny. Some drivers choose not to tip, but many do. They recognize that these volunteer traffic police provide a valuable service.

For many Pak Ogah, volunteering to direct traffic may be their only way to earn money. However, it is not an easy job. Pay is low and working conditions are dangerous. After all, the Pak Ogah spend their work day standing in the middle of a busy intersection with vehicles zooming past them on every side. That is why some community members are encouraging the local government to hire the Pak Ogah as official traffic police. This would allow them to get the training and safety equipment they need. But until then, Pak Ogah continue to operate outside the law, offering an effective but not-quite-legal solution to the problem of traffic in Jakarta.

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