Bali taxi drivers protest against Uber, GrabTaxi

A Jakartan passenger books a ride through mobile application Uber. A rally opposing Uber and taxi-booking app GrabTaxi was held by taxi and transportation associations in Bali on Thursday.
The Jakarta Post/ANN

Local taxi drivers and transportation associations held a rally in Denpasar on Thursday against car-booking applications Uber and GrabTaxi.

According to the Bali Taxi Drivers Association (Pesotab) and Bali Alliance of Local Transportation Drivers, the ride-hailing and taxi-booking services are illegal and destructive to the livelihoods of independent local taxi drivers.

"The government cannot simply stand by and ignore the fate of thousands of drivers. It has to be firm and shut down illegal companies," said rally coordinator Ketut Witra in Denpasar as quoted by kompas.com.

In a statement sent by the associations to the Bali Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD), the government was urged to look beyond large-scale projects when issuing operation licenses.

"[The DPRD] should not only allow foreign capital to benefit, and leave us local transportation players aside as spectators," Ketut added.

The demonstrators rallied for only a few minutes in front of the Bali DPRD before being invited in to meet speaker Nyoman Adi Wiryatama.

Taxi services equipped with booking applications have been spreading rapidly across Indonesia, as people seek more reliable means of transportation, given the country's poor public transportation facilities.

GrabTaxi incorporates thousands of selected drivers from five leading taxi fleets and assigns available taxis to nearby commuters using mapping and location-sharing technology.

Meanwhile, Uber partners with licensed chauffeur-driven cars or rental car companies, but the legality of its operations has been repeatedly brought into question.