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Backlash In Bali As Local Driver Harasses Tourists For Using Online Taxi Service

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A video is circulating online of a local taxi driver in Bali demanding tourists to pay an exorbitant fee for using an online taxi service in his patch.

In the video, the local driver can be seen harassing domestic tourists for money after they used an online ride-hailing app in Canggu. 

No Uber Grab Taxi GoJek.jpg

The tensions between online ride-hailing apps and local taxi drivers have been rife for years.

While many can understand the frustrations felt by local taxi drivers who feel undercut and underserved by the surge in online taxi services, they are legal to use in Indonesia.

Many local villages and taxi driving associations have implemented localized bans on ride-hailing apps in a bid to ensure that tourists use local services. 

In this instance, a local driver, believed to be in the Canggu area, harassed domestic tourists after they had called an online taxi service.

In the six-minute long video, clips of which are doing the rounds on local social media pages, the aggrieved driver demands the tourists pay IDR 150,000 (USD 10) just to use the ride-hailing service in his patch.

North Kuta Police have confirmed that they have followed up on the reports of the harassment and confirmed that they are investigating the issue.

Police Chief Kompol, I Made Pramasetia told reporters, “We have secured the unscrupulous driver.”

Local reports have expressed their concerns that this kind of threatening behavior towards tourists is unacceptable and can even traumatize visitors in such a way that they do not return to Bali or feel unsafe during the remainder of their stay.

More footage of the driver has come to light, and local reports suggest the aggressive driver isn’t even from Canggu but hails from Kintamani in Bangli Regency. 

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The local taxi vs. online taxi debate is something of a double-edged sword for tourists. Many tourists prefer to use ride-hailing apps like GoJek and Grab as they are familiar with similar platforms at home.

Both platforms are legal to use across Indonesia.

Similarly, the set fee and additional security elements that come as part and parcel of an online taxi service also help give tourists peace of mind. 

Nevertheless, it’s hard for local drivers who depend upon driving tourists for their income. Local drivers and taxi associations often feel aggrieved because they feel online taxi platforms massively undercut them on price and do not contribute to the local community.

As many local drivers pay village taxes for the upkeep of the roads and infrastructure in their communities, they feel as if resources are being bled from their homes.

Just as many tourists prefer a local driver who they meet at the taxi stand close to their accommodation. Many tourists appreciate the local knowledge and to be giving funds directly to their driver rather than through a third party. 


What’s more, many local drivers offer services above and beyond driving. For many local taxi drivers, driving is only a small part of the deal.

Many double as tour guides and cultural facilitators, adding more value to a tourist’s experience than a taxi driver from an app. 

Irrespective of which side of the debate you fall on, it is unacceptable to hold tourists to ransom for using a service that even the national tourism board has recommended. In an infographic shared online this week, the Indonesian Tourism Board issued the following advice about transportation in Bali. 


The post reads: Use Reliable Transportation: Safely Wander the Paradise Embark on worry-free journeys through Bali by selecting reputable and licensed transportation providers.”

“Opt for official taxis, reliable ride-sharing apps, or pre-arranged transportation through your accommodation, ensuring every ride is a seamless and secure experience.”

Transportation in Bali is always a hot topic. In recent months Governor Wayan Koster has proposed a ban on all foreigners driving in Bali.

In a statement issued in March, Governor Koster said he wanted completely restructure the way in which tourists access transport on the island. He said his ban would ensure “tourists have to travel, walk, and use cars to travel. It is no longer allowed to use a motorcycle or anything that is not from a travel agent.”

This proposed ban has not been written into legislation, though there are a very strict set of rules and regulations tourists must adhere to if they wish to hire motorcycles to drive for themselves in Bali.

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Monday 17th of July 2023

Cab drivers demand extra money for going to the airport. Also, cab drivers demand ridiculous amounts of money when going FROM the Airport. And my Grab driver was literally scared to pick me and my friend up from a restaurant in Ubud late at night because he said "the taxi drivers hate Grab". He was afraid the taxi drivers would later harass him.

Ni luh

Wednesday 5th of July 2023

These are rightful demand, they wanted good service they should pay better. Otherwise they're just using the poor livelihood to feed themselves. That's unfair.


Wednesday 28th of June 2023

The number is up and I find the karmatic value hilarious. For years these taxi filth have awarded themselves gold-plated salaries and now their parasite existance is being flush into the septic tank where they belong. One bloke I was chatting to told me his taxi driver locked him in the car until he parted with 250k from Beach Walk to Jl Legian (3km max). His mistake being he didn’t set a price but even still, 250k. Shameless, fck’em.


Monday 26th of June 2023

so, where's the idiot governor's voice? probably only saying "we're investigating it", while making ridiculous policies meanwhile real problems such as this there's no clear and decisive actions at all, is it because it doesn't gives the "material impact" to the governor at all?


Saturday 24th of June 2023

Just one of the many thousands of daily examples of locals behaving badly...

No new flashy "guide" for them to follow, no police to enforce the laws on them either.

It's a joke when I walk out of my expensive hotel and get offered ilict drugs by the very first person I see.


Sunday 25th of June 2023

@Andrew, exactly. And even when staying inside your accommodation, they poison you with toxic smoke from burning plastic or loud banging music outside. No respect for anyone or anything.