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Jakarta Post

Uber, GrabCar operate as usual despite threats

  • Agnes Anya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 29, 2016   /  09:39 am

Drivers working for ride-hailing apps operated as usual on Monday despite threats from the Jakarta Transportation Agency that it would crack down on private cars being used for public transportation purposes.

The policy in the capital is different from the government'€™s stance, which has granted the ride-hailing companies a two-month grace period to give them time to obtain permits.

GrabCar legal manager Teddy Trianto Antono said that his company would continue to operate as per usual. '€œI have never heard about a crackdown, and we will stick to the agreement that during the two-month transition period, we are still allowed to operate,'€ he told The Jakarta Post.

GrabCar marketing director Kiki Rizki said that her company was trying to comply with the regulations set by the government. '€œWe are currently conducting road-worthiness tests for our vehicles,'€ she said.

Rahmad Ramadhani of Edelman, a company that serves as a communications consultant for Uber, said that his client was complying with the regulations set by the government and that it would not cease operations.

He said that Uber would team up with transportation cooperative Jasa Trans Usaha Bersama to fulfill the requirements set by the government for obtaining permits and expanding its fleet.

Meanwhile, GrabCar driver Setiono said he was not aware that the Jakarta Transportation Agency planned to crack down on ride-hailing cars on Monday.

However, he said that GrabCar management had told its drivers to show their identity cards as members of the Indonesia Car Rental Association (PPRI).

A PPRI identity card indicates that its holder is a legal driver for a car rental company. '€œI will show this identity card if I face any problems related to the operation of the car,'€ Setiono told to the Post on Monday.

The PPRI would lend backup cars to its members if their cars were impounded by the Jakarta Transportation Agency, he added.

Car rental services, including hiring a private driver, are legal in Jakarta, but the rental period is usually half a day at a minimum. Cars operating as regular taxis have to obey several requirements such as obtaining a yellow plate.

Setiono also explained that GrabCar drivers had tricks to avoid detection by Jakarta Transportation Agency officials. '€œI usually hide my smartphone so it is not visible from the windshield, particularly when I am transporting a passenger to the airport,'€ he added.

Mustaqfi, a driver who joined Uber for two weeks, said he had heard gossip about agency raids, but would continue working anyway. '€œIt'€™s not easy to find out that we'€™re part of Uber. The only way to know is by scrutinizing a driver'€™s smartphone and finding the [Uber] application,'€ he said.

Transportation Agency head Andri Yansyah reiterated his plan on Monday. '€œWe will crack down not only Uber and GrabCar, but also on other illegal transportation services that have no permits. It will be unfair if we only crack down on unlicensed Metro Mini buses, while letting ride-hailing cars continue as usual,'€ Andri said.

Last Friday, Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan said that Uber and GrabCar would be permitted to continue operating for the next two months while they strived to fulfill all the requirements listed under the Land Transportation Law.

Andri said that by teaming up with the traffic police and the Jakarta Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda), the agency had impounded 57 ride-hailing cars from the beginning of the year.

He said the owners of the impounded vehicles could claim them back when they had finished their court trial, which usually took around a month.

He did not mention his agency'€™s method of arrest.

Last year, the Jakarta Police pretended to order Uber cars and then arrested the drivers and impounded the cars. (rez/fac)

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