Transportation Ministry to ban smoking, sandals for ride-hailing drivers in new regulations

Photo: Denis Defreyne/Flickr
Photo: Denis Defreyne/Flickr

Indonesia wants drivers working for ride-hailing services (locally known as “online taxi”) to both smell good and look good — and that could be required by law soon.

The Transportation Ministry, which is currently drafting a new set of regulations for online taxis after its latest iteration was thrown out by the Supreme Court in September (the court essentially argued that the government limiting free market movement for the apps was unconstitutional), seems to be taking drivers’ and vehicles’ appearances into account when it teased some elements of the upcoming regulations.

“[Drivers should] provide comfort for their passengers by not smelling like smoke, and their vehicles can’t be dirty,” Land Transportation Director General Budi Setiyadi said in front of an audience of online taxi drivers today, as quoted by Tribun.

“In the new regulations [drivers] can’t wear sandals. Do they want to drive as a professional or like you’re taking someone to the market?” he said, adding that drivers will also have to be well-groomed and dressed smartly, with shirts and pants.

We at Coconuts have never had online taxi drivers who reeked of cigarette smoke (the same can’t be said about drivers of shady regular taxi companies, whose cigarette smoke smell we are often grateful for to mask the BO), but a policy to keep the smell out and the cars clean is one we can’t argue against.

However, regulating what online taxi drivers wear seems pointless from a practical standpoint, except perhaps prohibiting sandals as a safety precaution in case they slip off while driving.

Previously, the ministry also proposed panic buttons in ride-hailing apps for passenger and driver safety, but it’s not yet known if those will be included in the draft.

The Transportation Ministry’s draft for new online taxi regulations is reportedly being submitted to the Law and Human Rights Ministry today, and is likely to come into effect as early as next week. Depending on what constraints it puts on online taxi drivers, it remains to be seen if it will also be challenged in court as the previous version was.

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