Indonesia’s National Tourism Board, Wonderful Indonesia, has issued new guidance for tourists in Bali.
There has been a rise in the number of taxi scams on the island, and officials and tourism stakeholders are coming together to keep travelers safe.
Wonderful Indonesia is giving tourists the heads up that there has been a rising trend in the number of ride-hailing scams on the island.
The new guidance is designed to increase awareness about the scams by means of preventing tourists from getting caught out as the authorities crack down on shady operations.
Wonderful Indonesia is encouraging tourists to use ‘established ride-hailing apps like Grab, GoJek or MyBluebbird taxis.”
The tourism board says, “Their reputation for safety helps you dodge fraudulent services.”
They have shared some extra tips to help tourists feel safe when booking online taxi services in Bali.
Wonderful Indonesia writes, “Ensure you’re getting into the right car. Check the app for the driver’s name, photo, and license plate.”
They continue, “Look out for company stickers or route info displays on the car – a sign you’re in the right place.”
All three of the major ride-hailing app services in Bali, GoJek, Grab, and MyBluebird, have comprehensive safety features built into the app and the service itself.
Wonderful Indonesia says, “Make full use of in-app features like live location tracking and journey sharing. They’re not just for safety but also to keep a digital log of your travels.”
One of the biggest things tourists can do to keep safe when ordering online taxis is to choose official pick-up points.
Wonderful Indonesia has said that tourists should “Always head to official pick up locations such as airports, hotels or recognized taxi stands. Places like these are hotspots for authentic drivers from Grab, GoJek, and Bluebird.”
Wonderful Indonesia and the ride-hailing companies themselves urge passengers to report anything that feels odd about their driver, the vehicle, or the experience overall.
They suggest tourists should ‘Contact the ride-hailing company’s customer support immediately. They’re ready to handle any concerns and take action.”
It is also advisable for tourists to have a data-roaming package or buy a tourist SIM card while in Bali.
This way, all the ride-hailing app services and features can be used at all times, whether in WiFi zones or not. Telkomsel and XL are the two best providers of tourist SIM cards, with Telkomsel noted to be the favorite of tourists and ex-pats.
All this new guidance comes as police are cracking down on fake taxi scams. There are a number of vehicles operating in Bali’s busiest tourist resorts masquerading as the iconic Bluebird taxi.
This led the company to issue guidance for tourists to know what to look for in a genuine Bluebird taxi.
One of the biggest red flags to keep an eye out for is if the driver does not wear an official Bluebird uniform. Bluebird drivers wear short-sleeved shirts with blue and navy batik prints.
Another key red flag to look for is if the vehicle does not have clear meters and fares and drivers are aggressive in offering their services to prospective passengers.
Bluebird taxi drivers may offer passersby a lift. However, they should be stationed at a taxi rank and prioritize taking online bookings.
None of this is to say that local taxi drivers should be boycotted, far from it. The vast majority of local, independent taxi drivers are respectful and professional and will get tourists from A-to-B safely.
However, many of these local, independent taxi drivers do not operate a digitalized service, and therefore, tourists do not have access to the safety features offered by the likes of Gomel, Grab, and Bluebird.
With that in mind, tourists are encouraged to book with local, independent taxi drivers who come with a personal recommendation from friends, fellow travelers, or accommodation providers.
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