The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The main entrance gateway to the country, Soekarno-Hatta airport is not exactly renowned for the high standards of its taxi services. And the airport's operator, PT Angkasa Pura II, says it is planning to do something about it.
During a public hearing organized by the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU), Angkasa Pura said it was hoping to cut the number of taxis operating within the airport area so as to make it easier to monitor and eliminate unsuitable or untrustworthy taxis, thus, hopefully, improving services.
I Made Dordi, Angkasa Pura II technical director, said Monday that the company wished to cut the number of companies operating taxis at the airport from 13 at the moment to only one or two.
""Many passengers have complained about poor taxi services. We plan to select just one or two well-regarded taxi operators,"" he said, adding that last year his company had to ban a taxi firm from operating within the airport area due to its poor services.
He argued that because Soekarno-Hatta airport was the main gateway to Indonesia, it was very important to make a good impression on visitors by providing top-class services.
However, Ahmad Ramadhan Siregar, a commissioner with the KPPU, was not so sure about the plan for ""one or two"" taxi firms.
He said that such a small number of taxi firms would be unlikely to ensure a choice of services. He added that the operator of Indonesia's largest airport was actually on the right track at the moment by allowing some 13 taxi firms and other public transportation companies to operate at the airport.
However, tighter control was needed to filter out unlicensed taxis.
There are currently around 1,700 taxis serving Soekarno-Hatta airport, along with 400 motorcycle taxis, 600 unofficial public transportation vehicles, a large number of travel agency-owned minibuses, and buses operated by state-owned transportation firm Damri.
A representative of the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) said that having a large number of operators should not be seen as a must. The appointment of a single taxi operator would be acceptable as long as this was the result of a fair tender.
""The decision about who deserves to win should be based on fares, not the company's reputation,"" he said.
The KPPU has received a number of complaints regarding poor taxi services, not only in Soekarno-Hatta airport but also other airports around the country.
The complaints range from high fares to misconduct by drivers.
The commission attributed the problems at Juanda airport in Surabaya, Hasanuddin airport in Makassar, Polonia airport in Medan and Adi Sucipto airport in Yogyakarta to the existence of monopolies.
However, not all airports are overrun by taxis. Some smaller airports, like the one in Biak, Papua, suffer instead from a shortage of taxis.
""The taxi business is not profitable. We have only 25 taxis serving the airport,"" said a spokesman for Biak airport. (11)