Taxi drivers show up at Bali governor’s office to protest ride-hailing apps

“Conventional” drivers ship out to protest online ride-hailing apps. Photo via Info Denpasar
“Conventional” drivers ship out to protest online ride-hailing apps. Photo via Info Denpasar

Hundreds of “conventional” taxi drivers from the Bali Local Transport Alliance (Alstar B) showed up at the governor’s office on Wednesday to protest their biggest rivals and sworn enemies, ride-hailing apps.

The protesters gathered at Made Mangku Pastika’s office in Renon around 1pm to demand that the government completely shut down the operations of online taxis, who they allege don’t pay taxes.

Governor Pastika doesn’t appear to have made a comment yet about the demo, but we suspect he kind of has his hands full with the whole Mount Agung wanting to erupt, emergency status thing

“We came here to collect on the promise of the governor of Bali to close online taxis,” Tribun Bali quoted one protester as saying on Wednesday afternoon.

Ride-sharing services like Uber, Grab, and Go-Jek are legal in Indonesia and can innovate in something close to a free market in the country after the Supreme Court lifted regulatory constraints earlier this year.

However, conventional taxi operators have been laying the pressure hard on the local government to ban the disruptive apps in Bali since they entered the market a couple of years ago, offering attractive lower prices and standardized rates. The governor issued a circular, No.551/2783/ DPIK, prohibiting them indefinitely — naming Uber and Grab in particular — back in February 2016. 

In practice, however, the apps remain very much operational in Bali. Conventional operators have taken things into their own hands by way of intimidation, posting signs up in communities forbidding the use of Uber and Grab and have been employed fear tacticsand violence—to deter their competitors.

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