Transportation Ministry bans Go-Jek and other app-based transport services, outraged netizens start #SaveGojek

We’re all well aware that convenient ride-hailing apps like Go-Jek, Uber, and GrabCar have been operating outside of government regulations. But while Uber has faced numerous legal roadblocks, online motorcycle taxi services like Go-Jek have long been tolerated by the government, partially out of recognition for the huge gap in public transport needs they fulfilled.

So it made little sense to us that yesterday, the Transportation Ministry announced that these companies are now banned from operating in the country.

“Whatever they call it, whether it’s Go-Jek, Go-Box, GrabBike, GrabCar, BluJek, Lady-Jek- they’re all banned,” said Djoko Sasono, director general of Land Transportation at the Transportation Ministry, as quoted by Tempo yesterday.

Djoko said the ban was based on a circular from Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan, which was released on November 9, 2015. In it, the ministry instructed the National Police and all governors throughout Indonesia to enforce the existing laws on public transportation vehicles.

“[Land] public transportation vehicles must have a minimum of three wheels, have legal approval and the appropriate public transportation permits,” Djoko said.

It seems to make little sense for the government to be targeting app-based motorcycle taxi services now. We all know that traditional ojeks have been around for much, much longer, yet the government has never issued a nationwide ban on them like this one.

We can’t see this ban lasting long as the public has quickly shown their support for ride-hailing apps. The hashtag #SaveGojek shot up to become the top trending topic on Twitter in Indonesia today (while other similar hashtags dominated the top 10 trending topics), with the majority of the public denouncing the government’s ban:

Netizens also started an online petition urging Ignasius Jonan and the Transportation Ministry to withdraw their ban on ride-hailing apps. You can sign the petition here.

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