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Jakarta Post

Can we take motorcycle taxis? Clashing regulations leave passengers confused

  • Riza Roidila Mufti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, April 13, 2020   /   05:48 pm
Can we take motorcycle taxis? Clashing regulations leave passengers confused An app-based motorcycle taxi driver uses a smartphone on the sidewalk as he waits for an order during the imposition of large-scale social restrictions in Jakarta on April 12. (REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan)

The government’s guidelines on transportation controls during the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to contain COVID-19 have sparked criticism for being ambiguous and clashing with other regulations, leaving many confused.

On April 9, the Transportation Ministry issued ministerial regulation No.18/2020 on transportation controls to slow the spread of COVID-19. Among other things, it allows app-based ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers to serve passengers, so long as they comply with health protocols, which include wearing masks and gloves, disinfecting vehicles before and after use and not driving when not feeling well.

Civil groups and politicians were quick to lambast the regulation, signed by acting Transportation Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, as it clashes with Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto’s regulation on PSBB guidelines, meaning enforcement will be challenging.

“According to Health Ministerial Regulation No.9/2020 on PSBB guidelines, app-based ojek drivers can only transport goods, not passengers,” said Djoko Setijowarno, a transportation observer from the Indonesia Transportation Society (MTI) on Sunday. 

The Transportation Ministry regulation also contradicts Jakarta Gubernatorial Regulation No.33/2020 on PSBB status, which permits app-based ojek to transport goods only, he added. 

Incoherent regulations have left law enforcement officers, transportation operators and the public confused about whether ojek drivers are still permitted to transport passengers during the two-week PSBB period in Jakarta, which started on April 10. PSBB status will be enforced in Jakarta’s satellite cities of Bogor, Depok and Bekasi in West Java beginning April 15.



Djoko also questioned how the Transportation Ministry could monitor and ensure all app-based ojek drivers and passengers complied with the health protocols. 

“On a practical level, who is going to monitor whether the health protocols are being followed by the drivers and passengers? How will the temperatures of drivers and passengers be checked?” he said. “On a practical level, this regulation is hard to monitor.”

Public policy observer Agus Pambagio also highlighted the inconsistencies in the regulations, and argued that permitting ojek drivers to carry passengers would undermine the effectiveness of the large-scale social restrictions. 

“COVID-19 will continue to spread if passengers are allowed to be transported using two-wheel vehicles, both for commercial and personal purposes. Thus, I beg the Transportation Ministry to revoke or revise ministerial regulation No.18/2020, as soon as possible,” said Agus.  

Tulus Abadi, the chairman of the Indonesia Consumers Foundation (YLKI), also called on the government to scrap or revise the regulation on the grounds that it did not take into account the safety and security of customers during the pandemic. 

Responding to the criticism and confusion, the Transportation Ministry held an online press conference on Sunday. Spokesperson Adita Irawaty said the ministry maintained the point stated in the regulation that motorcycles could still be used to transport passengers, both for personal or commercial reasons, so long as health protocols were followed. 

“However, we will monitor the situation in the field and may evaluate and make changes to the regulation,” said Adita. 

Ride-hailing service providers such as Gojek and Grab disabled their ojek services on Friday in Jakarta, the first day of PSBB implementation in the capital. 

Gojek chief of corporate affairs Nila Marita said the company welcomed the Transportation Ministry regulation and is waiting for the regulation to come into effect to make adjustments. 

“The issuance of the regulation will help people to travel and do [certain] activities that are still allowed under the PSBB terms. On the other hand, it can also help our driver partners to maintain their income to support their families,” said Nila on Monday. Gojek has provided its driver partners in Greater Jakarta and other cities with health equipment packages.

Grab Indonesia’s head of public affairs Tri Sukma Anreianno said that company was making preparations to ensure its driver partners were ready to comply with the health protocols stipulated in the Transportation Ministry regulation once it was implemented.

“We are still waiting for the regulation to be officially implemented. On behalf of our driver partners, we want to thank the government for listening to our input and our drivers’ input regarding the regulation,” he said.