The Jakarta Post
Hundreds of angkot (public minivan) drivers refused passengers on Monday, instead opting to rally in front of City Hall, demanding that the Jakarta administration reopen Jl. Jati Baru in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta.
The drivers held up posters reading: “Return sidewalks and street functions to their original function!” and “Stop messing up with our beloved Tanah Abang!”
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan closed Jl. Jati Baru for street vendors, as part of his plan to turn Tanah Abang into a big market like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
The drivers said they had experienced significant income loss since the road closure.
“We have to pay the minivan owner daily deposits of as much as Rp 110,000 [US$8.2]. We also must spend around Rp 45,000 on gas. Now [after the road closure] we can barely collect Rp 50,000 a day,” driver Sairin told The Jakarta Post.
The drivers also complained about the alleged actions of transportation agency officials.
“They often say curse words and even damage minivan windows,” said Yono, an angkot owner.
Yono said he owned four minivans and employed 12 drivers.
“Drivers also have to pay to fix broken windows,” Yono said, “It is too much of a burden for them, especially with the road closure.”
Transportation agency head Andri Yansyah said he could not promise that Jl. Jati Baru would be reopened.
The protest went peacefully until the drivers were dispersed around 4:30 p.m. (gis)