Tourist transportation in Bali has long been a point of contention, both for tourists themselves and for local taxi drivers.
With little accessible public transport, the rise of online ride-hailing apps, and an increase in tourists wanting to hire their own vehicles on the island over the last few years, tourist transport has been something of a hot topic.
This week, the Bali Provincial Government has formed a new tourist taxi consortium that will work to standardize tourist transportation around the island.
This new initiative is connected to changes announced by ex-Governor of Bali Wayan Koster earlier this year that will eventually make it so that tourists in Bali only be able to use government-approved transport services.
Wayan Koster’s governorship formally came to a close in August and he and his Deputy Cok Ace will be re-running for election in 2024.
The new transportation consortium, called Kreta Bali Smita, is made up of representatives from the Bali Provincial Government, Perumda, an organization that focuses on digital tourism development as well as a collaboration with global auditor PT TÜV Rheinland Indonesia, DPD Organda Bali, and PT Indo Trans Teknologi (TransTRACK).
These four organizations, working in the form of a consortium, will work to standardize the tourist transportation market in Bali.
Speaking at the signing of the new partnership, the Head of the Bali Province Transportation Service, I Gede Wayan Samsi Gunarta, explained that any upcoming changes to tourist taxi services in Bali will be in alignment with Bali Governor Regulation Number 28 of 2020 concerning Bali Tourism Management.
This piece of legislation dictates tourist transportation in Bali must be saved from the free market with better governance.
Gunarta told reporters that the free market of tourism taxi services is creating poor services and damaging the market, all of which have a negative impact on the tourist experience in Bali.
With this in mind, the consortium will work to create Silver, Gold, and Platinum level auditing that taxi providers must reach to become accredited drivers and service providers.
Gunarta explained, “This labeling is done as an effort to prevent conflict over tourist transportation. Every tourist who comes to Bali uses legal tourist transportation, and the rates and quality of service are clear,”
He continued, “We will ensure that the requirements, components, and labeling criteria are met. Audits will be carried out on-site to verify conformity to technical guidelines. Only then from the audit will we issue labels, whether in the Silver, Gold, or Platinum.”
Taxi providers who wish to be a part of the accreditation scheme will be entered into a centralized fleet management system.
This part of the program is managed independently of the government as part of a B2B process where taxi providers are accredited by the teams at TransTRACK.
In short, this means that the government acts as a regularity partner in the consortium for the independent taxi companies, whether this be taxi businesses or individual drivers.
The categories of taxi service providers will focus on the level of service and quality of operations, quality of vehicles, and environmental impact.
Gunarta explained that for example “Platinum category tourist transportation must be environmentally friendly, using new and renewable energy. For example, battery-powered or electric tourist transportation.
He added, “Annual audits will be carried out to monitor the progress of vehicles that have been labeled. Are they consistent, need to upgrade their category, or have their category decreased? This label is valid for up to three years.”
To make it clear to tourists which level of taxi service they are paying for, each accredited taxi will display a Kreta Bali Smita sticker.
The stickers will also provide information on the taxi’s accreditation status and a QR code. Tourists will be able to scan this QR code to check the track record of the driver and the legality of the service.
The Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Tjokorda Bagus Pemayun, shared his support for the new initiative.
He told reporters, “So tourists not only get good service at the airport and hotel, but also when they use land transportation in Bali. This labeling guarantees that tourist transportation vehicles have permits and certification, thereby minimizing fraudulent tourist transportation.”
The consortium is targeting 12,000 tourist transport providers to be part of the new accreditation program, which will be slowly rolled out over the next few months.
Earlier this month, Bali Airport established a dedicated pickup area in the arrivals terminal for tourists to use the GoCar service by GoJek.
The partnership is another example of how tourism stakeholders across the island are working to give visitors more safe and affordable transportation options.
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