THE Indonesian government appears to be making another U-turn on the decision to regulate or prohibit ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Grab in its bustling cities.
Local reports said the Transport Ministry was “quietly” coming up with new regulations involving public transportation that threatened to put the brakes on the smartphone app-driven services.
The reports underlined two salient points which would invariably lead to the prohibition of Uber, GrabCar, and other similar services. The points comprised the prevention of ride-hailing companies from setting their own fares, and the minimum requirement of owning at least five of their own cars under a licensed company.
These new rulings go against the nature of the ride-hailing services as partner drivers, who typically own only one car individually, and have their fares set by the services.
“If these points in the new regulation are enforced, then theoretically the current ride-hailing model will be prohibited and we’ll be left with apps that can only hail government-licensed vehicles, like conventional taxis,” Coconuts Jakarta reported.
The news site also reported that the new regulation is set to come into effect in September.
The latest decision ran contrary to the government’s announcement in March that it would work with Uber and Grab to regulate and legalize their services, although this was to be done by the IT ministry.
The Indonesian public believes the services should be allowed to operate to provide equal opportunity and create a more competitive environment between transportation services.
Last month, taxi drivers in Jakarta launched a protest on the congested streets of the capital, voicing against what they saw as the invasion of ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab.
However, the situation quickly turned violent. In the protest, thousands took to the streets and were seen attacking fellow taxi drivers who refused to join the demonstration.
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In November last year, the government announced a ban on all app-based ride-hailing services. However, the decision was overturned by President Joko Widodo less than 24 hours after the announcement.