The animosity between Bali’s regular metered taxi drivers and those working for ride-hailing apps reared its head again on Sunday, as captured in a video showing an altercation between a Grab employee and a gang of airport taxi drivers.
Raw footage, posted on the Ubud Community Facebook page, shows a man wearing a Grab shirt involved in a heated argument with a group of at least 12 airport taxi drivers.
After several minutes of heated debate, the feud turns physical with one taxi driver seizing the Grab driver by the neck and marching him away from the terminal building, an angry mob of colleagues in tow.
Ngurah Rai security were forced to break up the brawl before things got really nasty.
The airport’s management have expressed their disapproval of the rowdy behavior, which marks the second time they’ve had to send a warning to the airport taxi operators over a quarrel of this nature.
“We will give a warning letter to the taxi operators involved involved in the commotion,” said Arie Ahsanurohim, the airport’s head of PR yesterday, as quoted by Kumparan.
Ahsanurohim also said that steps would be taken to standardize the management of transportation and that a harmonization process would soon be underway so that online taxis would also be better accommodated at the airport in the near future.
“Our hope is that travelers have an option [of which taxi company to choose] because they are consumers and they are also protected by consumer protection laws,” he concluded, as quoted by Kumparan.
Despite the fact that Grab has officially been allowed to operate at the airport since April last year when the Grab-Kophrindo booth was inaugurated, it seems that the airport taxi drivers — who previously had a monopoly on freshly arrived tourists — still feel like their territory is being encroached upon.
Since landing in Bali a few years ago, ride-hailing apps like Go-Jek and Grab have offered a hassle-free, often cheaper way to get from A to B. But the competition has not sat well with Bali’s traditional taxi operators, who are sometimes referred to as the ‘taxi mafia’.
At the end of 2017, hundreds of Bali drivers descended on the Governor’s office to protest online taxi operators and demand their operations be shut down. Also in 2017, a driver under Uber, a ride-share app that no longer operates in Bali, was hospitalized after being brutally attacked by a gang of Kuta taxi drivers.