Jakarta will expand its controversial 'odd-even' traffic rule next week to reduce road congestion and air pollution in the capital. (Antara Photo/Rivan Awal Lingga)

Jakarta Says No to Grab's, Gojek's Odd-Even Appeal


SEPTEMBER 03, 2019

Jakarta. Jakarta has decided to reject an appeal from ride-hailing companies Grab and Gojek to exempt their driver-partners from the expanded "odd-even" traffic rule, which only allows cars with odd number plates to pass through the city's major thoroughfares on odd-numbered dates, and even-numbered cars on even dates.

This decision will come at the expense of Grab and Gojek, who are now likely to suffer a big blow in their biggest market in the country. 

The city administration will start enforcing the odd-even rule on more roads in the capital next week to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in the city of nearly 11 million people. 

Grab and Gojek drivers have appealed for a leeway, arguing that the new rule will hit them where it really hurts – in their pockets.

The city council studied the appeal but on Tuesday concluded that they have to follow higher regulations and reject it. 

Ride-hailing services are already regulated by a 2018 Ministerial Decree, so any attempt to get a special regulation passed for them will contravene the decree.  

"The Supreme Court has also made a decision to forbid special markings on ride-hailing cars," Syafrin Liputo, Jakarta's transportation department head, said on Tuesday.

The decision revoked a 2017 Ministerial Decree which required ride-hailing cars to sport special markings. 

"It's simply not possible for the regional government to implement policies that contradict higher laws. You can't force the government's hands," Syafrin said.

The expanded odd-even rule will start on Sept. 9 in 25 of Jakarta's main thoroughfares, up from nine currently. 

The rule does not apply to motorcycles, electric cars or disabled motorists. 

In a two-week trial run last month, the expanded rule had managed to increase average traffic speed in the inner cities by 9 percent to 28 kilometers per hour from 25.6 kilometers per hour previously.

The average travel time of Transjakarta buses, the city's most extensive public transport network, also increased by 20 percent. 

The city's environmental department also reported pollution level dropped by up to 18 percent near the roads where the restriction was applied.