Well, that was fast.
The sudden and sizeable backlash to yesterday’s announcement by the Transport Ministry that app-based motorcycle taxi services such as Go-Jek and GrabBike were banned from operating has apparently already had its intended effect.
Less than an hour after President Joko Widodo himself tweeted his displeasure over the ban, Minister of Transportation Ignasius Jonan has been quoted as saying that Go-Jek and its competitors are once again welcome to operate in Indonesia, at least for the time being.
“Ojeks and app-based public transport are to continue operating as a solution until public transport needs can be fulfilled properly,” Jonan said today as quoted by Detik.
Jonan went on to say that, although the current laws do not allow two-wheeled vehicles to operate as public transportation, in reality there is still a wide gap between the public’s transportation need and the government’s ability to provide decent public transportation options.
“That gap has long been filled by ojeks, and for now, by app-based transportation services such as Go-Jek and others,” he said.
He also said that the app-based services and their road safety standards remained a major concern for the government, but that they would consult with the police about that.
While this kind of rapid government flip-flop certainly doesn’t look good in some respects, overall we’d say this is great news. It should give app-based transport services more leeway to expand in the future and, perhaps, the government will consider trying to create new regulations to facilitate innovative technologies and businesses before they decide to pull out the ban hammer.
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