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Jakarta Post

App-based taxi services are illegal, Transportation Ministry insists

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 23, 2016   /  05:36 pm
App-based taxi services are illegal, Transportation Ministry insists Dozens of taxi drivers parked their cars during a protest at the Transportation and Communications Office of West Nusa Tenggara in Mataram on Wednesday. Drivers from various taxi companies like Blue Bird, Lombok Express, Rangga Taksi and Kotasi protested against the presence of Uber and Grab to operate in their area. (Antara/Ahmad Subaidi)

The Transportation Ministry insists that ride-hailing applications are illegal and is pushing them to comply with the prevailing transportation laws following a massive protest by conventional taxi drivers held on Tuesday to demand a ban of online services.

The ministry considered the application-based transportation services, like US-based Uber, Malaysia-based Grab and the homegrown motorcycle taxi service Go-Jek, illegal because they lacked the operating permits required of conventional transportation providers, the ministry's acting director general of land transportation, Sugiharjo, said on Wednesday.

"The issue is not about online or offline business, but the legality of the business," he said at a press conference.

The ministry urged the companies behind the applications to decide whether they wanted to be public transportation operators or information technology application providers.

If they choose to provide transportation services, then they must register their vehicles and business operations with the regional transportation office and determine fares based on the relevant gubernatorial regulation, as must registered public buses and taxis.

They also have to pay taxes and carry out regular road worthiness tests (KIR) on their vehicles.

However, should they decide to be IT providers, they have to cooperate with one of the registered transportation companies to back their operations, Sugiharjo said.

The ministry wrote out binding regulations for ojek applications like Gojek and Grab Bike as Indonesia did not regulate ojek as a mode of public transportation, even though such services are illegal.

Yet, the ministry admitted to have not been able to provide sufficient public transportation in the capital, which led to the expansion of alternative modes of transportation welcomed by citizens.

"Go-Jek and Grab Bike complement public transportation. We consider that they operate in a grey area," Sugiharjo said.

The legal manager of Grab Indonesia, Teddy Antono, said that Grab would not halt its operations despite mounting protests and the government's declaration of its illegal status.

The company would maintain its business concept as an IT-based transportation provider and would try to make all of its drivers possess rental licenses.

"We will keep our operations while waiting for further direction from the Transportation Ministry, whether our drivers can operate or not," Teddy said.

Meanwhile, a representative of Uber, Donny Suyadi, refused to comment on the matter.

At least 10,000 drivers of taxis, bajaj and other modes of public transportation belonging to the Land Transportation Drivers Association (PPAD) protested on Tuesday against the ride-hailing applications, partially blaming the modern service for their declining incomes.

The protest turned violent as protesting taxi drivers forced other drivers to join the protest. They also neglected passengers and went so far as to damage cars.

Protestors also got involved in brawls with Go-Jek drivers and burned tires in several locations in the capital, causing traffic congestion and hampering people's mobility on Tuesday. (rin)


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