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Bali Taxi Drivers Push Back Against Online Ride Hailing Providers

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Taxi drivers in Bali have announced that they are pushing back against ride-hailing apps in the area. Local taxi drivers are fed up with ride-hailing apps undercutting their services and taking business from their communities. 

No Grab, No GoJek, No Uber Sign At Taxi Station In Bali

The issues between local taxi drivers, tour guides, and online ride-hailing services have been ongoing for years. The conversation has resurfaced in taxi ranks across the island this week as AirAsia has announced that it will be introducing its version of an online taxi service to Bali by November.

The announcement has been received with mixed feedback. Some welcome the business opportunity, while others are frustrated that more competition is being introduced into the marketplace. 

No Online Taxi Sign At Taxi Station In Bali

Taxi drivers in East Kintamani have confirmed that they are moving to block online taxi service providers from operating in the area, including GoJek and Grab. Speaking to local reporters, the Deputy Chairman of the Kintamani Tourism Transport Association (PAPK), I Komang Sidiasa, spoke with reporters on Wednesday 14th September. He said that online ride-hailing taxi drivers have been picking up tourists and locals along the Penelokan highway close to Songan Village despite the rejection from the community. 

Ariel View Of Kintamani Songan Village In Bali And Lake Batur In The Distance

Songan Village and the surrounding communities sit alongside Lake Batur, where thousands of tourists come to explore every month. Drivers and guides like Sidiasa depend upon tourists visiting the area for their sole income. Visitors travel to Songan Village and Lake Batur from all across Bali. The majority come on day trips and return to Ubud, Amed, or the southern coast, requiring the use of a taxi service to do so. 

Sidiasa explained that the core reason the 40 local tourism transport association members are so against online transportation providers is because of the margin by which they undercut local drivers. He said ‘The difference can reach IDR 200,00 (USD 13.30). For example, from Songan to Amed, local transportation charges a price of IDR 500,000 (USD 33.40), while online transportation is only IDR 270,000 (USD 18)’.

Tourists Visit Lake Batur In Bali On A Sunny Day

They argue that online taxi providers do not pay taxes to each village in the same way that local taxi drivers pay their contributions to the development of their communities. What’s more, local taxi drivers share their local knowledge and provide clients with services above and beyond that of a dial-a-driver. Online taxi service drivers are often are not from Bali but rather from other parts of Indonesia and who are believed to not support tourism infrastructure and communities in the same way that the local taxi drivers do. 

Blue-Bali-Taxis-In-Traffic-Jam-On-Tourist-Street

Online taxi providers can undercut local drivers because they have access to more of the market, and the tariffs are set by the company. In a practical sense, it affects the local taxi system even further. Online drivers can pick up another customer at the destination of the last. In contrast, local taxi drivers must return to their patch and join the queue, according to the rules of local taxi operations. 

Sidiasa told reporters that he and the Songan Tourism Transport Association do not forbid others to ‘seek their fortune’ in the area. They simply want to eliminate the disparity in the current taxi tariffs. They want to see online service providers match the rates of local taxi services rather than the other way around. Sidiasa says this ‘is for the sake of mutual convenience and the goodness of tourism in Kintamani’. 

View-Of-Mount-Batur-Lake-Batur-And-Kintamani-Villages-In-Bali

He went on to explain that the current rates set by the Songan Tourism Transport Association has been agreed upon by the 40 members, hotel owners, and tourism entrepreneurs in the area who help market the services of the drivers and private guides. 

Private taxi drivers in Bali have already spoken up about their slow recovery from Covid-19. Despite the southern beaches and leading tourism hotspots edging ever closer to full capacity, taxi drivers across Bali have noted a struggle to recover. 

Bali-Taxi-Driver-Holds-Taxi-Sign-In-Ubud

There are already bans across tourism hotspots like Kuta, Canggu, Ubud, and Sanur banning online ride-hailing services. There seems to be no conclusion in sight for the matter. However, there are hopes that local communities and regional governments can work with the provincial government and online ride-hailing providers to create a fairer marketplace for all. 

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Dmun1982

Sunday 18th of September 2022

What they are really annoyed about is tourists using these apps so they can't rip you off, I started using this in Bali and my fare went down ten fold but the drivers weren't happy you were a white Australian, they would still try to scam you in some way to make the cash back but that's everyone in Bali, they think they are entitled to scam people with more money than them(everyone).

John

Saturday 17th of September 2022

Nice to see all the comments in agreement. Online taxi companies are the future, they offer safety convenience, and for now, affordability which is exactly what customers want. In a place like Bali where walking using public transport is almost impossible people need an alternative. Not everyone can rent a car with a driver for their whole holiday and just taking a taxi down the road shouldn't cost 200k every time regardless of the perceived wealth of the customer.

Kevin

Saturday 17th of September 2022

Haha everyone knows "local" taxi drivers charge too much. They should join Gojek, make honest money and they can still 'contribute' to their community. They can't just "ban" fully legal Indonesian citizens from having a job. In Jakarta, so many taxi drivers have joined Grab/Gojek that now many bluebird drivers are from central Java and don't know their way around Jakarta at all.

Lee

Saturday 17th of September 2022

Got a taxi in Bali just 2 weeks ago. Meter was 25000 and he turned around and told me 50000. When questioned he said meter doesnt matter its for my tip. This was only a smsll amount if money but obviously there is the corruption right there. Didnt have these issues with grab.

Exp

Sunday 18th of September 2022

Bluebird seems to operate using min fare of Rp 30,000

Exp

Sunday 18th of September 2022

Which taxi company?

Andrew

Friday 16th of September 2022

I'm sick and tired of the "local community" tax for foreigners/tourists. It is 100% or 200% or sometimes 300% more. If the local drivers were charging 20% more then I would happily support. But they are extorting.