The Head of the Bali Tourism Office has confirmed that the island is taking traveler safety seriously.
After news broke that a pair of American tourists were aggressively extorted by their taxi driver, leaders want to ensure everyone feels safe and comfortable.
The Bali Province Tourism Office has confirmed they are organizing a meeting with the taxi transportation service providers on the island to discuss operations and standards in key resort areas.
The meeting will focus on providing guidance to the island’s taxi associations to ensure the safety and comfort of tourists and travelers.
The Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Took Bagus Pemayun, told reporters, “We plan that in the near future, we will communicate with and invite the taxi transportation service providers [to our offices], or we will go there to convey what taxi providers should do to meet their service standards.”
Calls for a meeting and intervention by the Tourism Office come as incidents involving taxi drivers behaving aggressively, threateningly, or simply disrespectfully to both domestic and international tourists are seemingly on the rise.
Not only is this a real cause for concern for the safety of tourists, but also a huge issue for Bali’s public image.
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Pemayun added, “All taxi drivers must be registered with certainty, in addition to his taxi fleet. His position must also be detectable [at all times]. We will immediately invite everyone to discuss this because tourism is very vulnerable to issues like this. And for taxi companies themselves, issues like this are also very detrimental to them.”
The Bali Tourism Office wants tourists planning their visits to Bali to know that they are safe and cared for when using taxis on the island.
Since Bali has very limited public transport infrastructure, tourists have no option but to hail taxis to explore the island.
There are several options available: either hail a cab at the side of the road or at a taxi rank, hire a private driver who usually offers guiding services too, or use online ride-hailing services like GoJek or Grab.
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Pemayun wants all taxi and transport providers in Bali to provide guarantees to tourists so that they can feel confident traveling around the island.
Pemayun warns taxi providers that incidents of disrespect, aggression, or illegal behavior by drivers are quickly communicated with the public, online and in real life.
Pemayun says that taxi drivers play an important role in the tourism sector and are the face of the island in many ways. With this in mind, taxi drivers have a huge duty of care to their passengers and the Island of the Gods.
He added, “We ask our tourism association friends to inform the tourists they serve about what they can do in Bali and what they can’t. The vehicle rental association also informs tourists of the same things.”
Officials in Bali are also cracking down on illegally operating taxi providers. Pemayun took the opportunity to remind tourists to only use official taxi services, especially for pick up and drop off at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport.
He concluded, “Even if you are in a place other than the airport, use a trusted and official taxi service so you can detect who the driver is and who the management is. Don’t use one that is not clear.”
This is often tricky for tourists who, in some locations, are blocked from using online ride-hailing services by local communities who want tourists to hire local taxi drivers.
One of the many issues tourists cite with this system is that these local taxi drivers, the vast majority of whom are professional, safe, and contentious drivers, do not offer the same safety features an online taxi provider or larger taxi company can provide.
Online ride-hailing apps like Grab and GoJek all have comprehensive safety features, including a panic button, journey tracking, and live 24/7 customer service support.
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