So stiff is competition between Indonesia’s motorcycle taxis app companies that new entrants are going to extreme lengths to stand out. (JG Photo/ Sheryl Yehovia)

Uber, Go-Jek Ban Targeted by Transport Ministry


DECEMBER 18, 2015

Jakarta. The Transport Ministry issue a letter to regional governments and the national police on Thursday explaining the central government will ban taxi and motorcycle hailing apps operating in the country.

The letter, signed by Transport Minister Ignatius Jonan and dated Nov. 9, argues the services do not conform to Indonesia's transport laws and regulations.

The ban effectively outlaws taxi hailing services like Uber and GrabTaxi, as well as home-grown motorcycle-taxi apps Go-Jek, Blue-Jek and Lady-Jek.

"Services like Uber, in which they demand payment using a private car is not legal under current law," Djoko Sasono, director general of land transportation at the Transport Ministry, said on Thursday.

Police and regional governments have conducted sporadic raids on Uber and GrabTaxi drivers in recent months, but plans to confiscate vehicles and arrest drivers were derailed after a lack of legal grounding.

Uber — which now boasts 12,000 drivers in Jakarta, Bandung and Bali — has maintained its position that it does comply with regulations. Drivers hold rental car licenses, which conforms to a 2003 ministerial regulation, Uber spokesman Karun Arya said.

Motorcycle hailing services, however, are on a more shaking standing. Despite their prevalence across Indonesia for decades the service is yet to be recognized as public transport by the government.