Like any form of public transportation, there’s always an element of risk involved in ride-hailing services — often referred to as “online taxis” in Indonesia — for both passenger and driver. The country’s Transportation Ministry is now looking into the possibility of requiring online taxi apps to have emergency panic buttons to minimize that risk.
The ministry is currently drafting an amended set of regulations for ride-hailing services after its latest iteration was thrown out by the Supreme Court last month and the panic button proposal is likely going to be put into the list, according to Land Transportation Director General Budi Setiyadi.
“The panic button is for the passenger and the driver. So if the driver is under threat, they can press it and if the passenger is under threat, they can switch it on in the app,” he told reporters yesterday, as quoted by state news agency Antara.
Budi said the ministry is going to discuss the matter with ride-hailing service providers in the coming days and is hopeful they will agree with the proposal.
There have been numerous cases in Indonesia of both ride-hailing drivers and passengers becoming victims of robbery, assault, sexual harassment, and even murder. The most recent high profile case involved a driver forcibly kissing a passenger, only for the ride-hailing service provider to come under heavy criticism for offering a mediation between the two parties.
August saw one of the most high profile murders of a ride-hailing driver, who managed to send out WhatsApp messages to his friend calling for help right before his reported abduction and murder.
Uber launched its panic button feature specifically for passengers in the US in May of this year. The button is easily accessible on the app’s home screen, giving passengers a quick way to contact first responders in case something goes wrong during their ride. Uber says it will launch the feature for drivers in the future.
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