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Protesting Online Transport in Bali

Alstar-B Group Stages More Angry Mass Protests in Bali Against Online Transport Operators

(3/18/2017) Hundred of conventional tax drivers in Bali marching under the banner of the Alliance of Bali Transportation Drivers (Alstar B), launched new street demonstrations on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, demanding that the Government block online transportation applications that support Uber and Grab Taxi.

Alstar B is an umbrella organization supported by 15 associations of taxi drivers in Bali.

NusaBali reports that the angry drivers were once again taking to the streets of Bali in protest because, in the view of the chairman of Alstar B, I Ketut Wirta, the Provincial Government has ignored earlier protests.

The large groups of taxi drivers gathered in front of the Dew Ruci Statue in Kuta at 8:00 on Tuesday morning to deliver speeches demanding the Government move against Uber and Grab operations in Bali that are viewed as illegal. Speaking before the crown, Wirta proclaimed: “Grab and Uber are foreign owned. Both do not pay taxes. We want the Provincial Government of Bali to not only make written promises and not to just toss this problem on to be sorted out by the Central Government. Where is the responsibility of the regional government? Why must this problem be referred to the Central Government?”

Continuing, Wirta said that in addition to being illegal and unlicensed, Grab and Uber is introducing unhealthy competition into the marketplace by allowing the online operators to set their own fares without reference to competing operations. As a result, he says many members of Alstar B have been forced out of business due to their inability to secure passengers that have been “taken” by the online operators.

He complained that in some instance the online taxis are offering 3 months of free use to new customers.

He also called on the Government to remove all roadside advertising from the online operators.

Wirta reminded the government that the “grace” period given by the Government for Uber and Grab Tax to secure proper licensing expires at the end of March 2017. He said that if the online operators still lack the official permits then the Government should ban them from Bali’s road.

Later the same day, a delegation met with members of Commission II of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) for 1.5 hours to discuss their concerns. The conventional taxi operators have demanded that Uber and Grab be closed for more than a year, but with no success.

“The Government must take concrete steps,” demanded Wirta.

Meanwhile, legislators receiving the delegation of drivers told them that the DPRD-Bali had issued recommendations in support of Alstar-B’s demands, condemning the unlicensed and illegal online transportation companies operation in Bali. The lawmakers had called on the online operators to establish an office in Bali, pay taxes in accordance with law, and meet all other legal requirements.

Leaving the DPRD-Bal,i a portion of the protesting Alstar-B drivers reconvened in front of the Pullman Hotel in Kuta waiting for local law enforcement workers (Sat Pol PP) to remove billboards advertising online transportation services.

With traffic coming to a standstill, the protestors took matters into their own hands and removed the billboards for online transport before dispersing and returning to their homes at 4:00 pm.