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Bali Tourists Need To Know How To Help Stop Taxi Scams

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Over the past few months, security authorities in Bali have been doubling down on efforts to eliminate scam taxis operating through the island, especially in top tourism resorts.

The move comes after a small but significant increase in the number of reports of illegally operating taxi drivers extorting tourists. 

Bluebird taxis line up at Taxi rank in Indonesia

While the authorities continue to work to crack down on illegal taxi operators in top resorts, the Bali Transportation Service (Dishub) has issued guidance for tourists to be able to spot the signs of an illegitimate taxi operator. 

Speaking to reporters, the head of road traffic and the Bali transportation service, Nyoman Sunarya, explained how to best spot a dodgy taxi in Bali.

He shared, “[Illegal taxi] drivers usually travel around. There is a possibility that they operate at dawn and in busy places, but not in official taxi stops. Because official taxis have certain hangout points.”

Sunarya confirmed that most illegal taxi drivers are driving vehicles that appear to the untrained eye to look like perfectly legit taxis.

Often, illegal taxi drivers will acquire an ex-legal taxi and keep all the branding, scratching out ID numbers (VIN numbers), and even taxi signs on the roof of the vehicle, making it hard for tourists to immediately tell the difference. 

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Sunarya explained, “The [VIN] numbers are removed, but not the paint. So they still resemble (the colors of the company or official taxi cooperative) that houses them. After checking, it turned out they are illegal taxi drivers.”

He also noted that one of the tell tale signs for officials when investigating fake taxis on the street is that the number plates do not match the original or are fake. Though, for tourists this is very hard to tell. 

Sunarya confirmed that all legitimate taxi vehicles (not online ride-hailing vehicles, we’ll get to them!) must display their taxi identification clearly within the vehicle and be equipped with meter machines.

The meter machines must be used on every journey, and tourists have every right to leave the vehicle if the driver refuses to use the meter. 

He added, “We hope that consumers must be smart in choosing. Rejuvenation [of a vehicle] does not mean that a taxi is illegal.”

“But if it has been renovated or removed from the Bali Taxi Cooperative membership but is still being operated, then it is illegal. Because the taxi cars which are managed by the cooperative belong to each individual, that is our concern.”

Bluebird taxi in Bali close up of side door.jpg

According to figures shared by Dishub, the Bali Transportation Department recorded that 3,155 cars are registered as official taxis from seven taxi transportation service companies or cooperatives.

In the three months between January and the end of March, a total of 55 cars have been refurbished or are no longer members of the taxi cooperative.

Bluebird Taxis, one of the most famous and easily recognizable taxi companies in Bali, have also made it super clear to tourists.

Bluebird taxis can be ensured to be genuine by checking the Driver ID, which will always be up to date and visible on the dash or in front of the passenger seat.


Each taxi has its own ID number; there will be an IoT Taxi device installed on the dash displaying the fare and distance traveled. The driver will always wear the branded blue Batik uniform, and the vehicle will display the blue and white ‘taksi’ crown, complete with the Bluebird logo. 

Online taxi providers like Grab and GoJek each have a different set of criteria for keeping tourists safe. Most features are accessible within the app.

Features like knowing the number plate of the vehicle, the name of the driver and their photo helps reduce the chance that tourists are jumping into a dodgy vehicle.

Live safety features are also available in both apps and tourists should make the most of these resources. 


In March, over 100 Grab drivers in Bali attended a series of training sessions to best serve tourists on the island and help keep safety and security a top priority for both passengers and drivers. 

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Friday 3rd of May 2024

If the tourist can't tell what's legal then why don't the police do something about it. O forgot it mite mean that they can't spot them as well

Steve b

Friday 3rd of May 2024

There's a hundred dodgy operators at the airport on any given day


Monday 6th of May 2024

@Steve b,

So use the official airport taxi kiosk where prices are displayed and fixed, or pre arrange transport.

They're not dodgy if you don't use them.

Joe Visitor

Thursday 2nd of May 2024

Maybe Bali should also disallow posting of signs in geographies that disallow pick-ups in certain areas. In this fashion one knows a certified cab is coming.

This practice also obstructs legal cab companies from providing services and subjects drivers to harassment.


Monday 6th of May 2024


You're naive if you think this doesn't happen in Australia, USA and many other western countries.


Thursday 2nd of May 2024

@Joe Visitor, That is a big ask. These villages are run like in highly autonomous fashion it seems. How many times they tell you "this is Bali" when you question illegal actions on the ground.

The police just arrested today a Berawa traditional village head for extorting businessmen out of 10 Milyar (US$625,000) for him to approve a land transaction. So you see these gatekeepers seems not to preoccupied with tourists wellbeing regarding safe taxi service.


No wonder everything seems expensive when gatekeepers are taking huge cuts just for a signature.

Dr. Mark Spilkowitz

Thursday 2nd of May 2024

Good reporting! I have been in taxis (especially Bali Taxi) where the meter is so fast. The company must make the meter tamper-proof

Wayan Bo

Thursday 2nd of May 2024

To solve such problems just order a drive to the next police station🤣