Unsuspecting tourists might not be aware that tensions are (still) high between taxi drivers and drivers of ride-hailing services (locally known as “online taxi”) in Bali, and Coconuts Bali suspects that might be the case for tourists in a video that went viral recently, where conventional taxi drivers appear to gang up on an online taxi driver in an attempt to stop the latter from doing his job.
The two-minute video, which looks like it was taken at the Bali Collection shopping mall in Nusa Dua, shows two formally-dressed drivers (presumably the conventional taxi drivers) getting into an argument with an online taxi driver.
One of the conventional taxi drivers stood between the online taxi driver and opened the car door, stopping the latter from getting in and driving away.
At one point, the conventional taxi driver can be heard telling the car passengers, who are presumably foreign tourists, that online taxis are prohibited from operating in the area.
“Online not allowed here, please,” he said.
The tense interaction went on for a little while, and when the online taxi driver managed to close his car door and drive away, the other person did not let him go easily and instead opened the rear passenger door.
Thankfully, the altercation did not get any worse than that, and no one appeared to be harmed.
It did show, however, that animosity between Bali’s conventional taxi drivers and those working for ride-hailing apps still persist, and passengers – be it local residents or tourists – are inconveniently trapped in the middle during some of these heated instances.
On Facebook, where the video was originally posted, many users shared their disgust over the quarrel, most seemingly of the opinion that customers should be free to choose what services they prefer to use.
Some areas in Bali strictly prohibit online taxi drivers, retaining the monopoly of conventional taxi drivers who usually charge a lot more and are therefore increasingly less popular with customers.
Earlier this year in May, Bali Governor I Wayan Koster announced plans of issuing a regulation to organize the operations of conventional and online taxi companies on the island, in a bid to resolve ongoing disputes between the two sides. However, some observers highlighted then that it could lead to more conflict and worse options for customers.