Mon, 21 Aug 2000

City 'needs guidelines' for non Jakarta taxis

JAKARTA (JP): Officials and a taxi company stressed the need for guidelines to regulate the operation of taxis from outside the capital.

Head of the City Land Transportation Agency (DLLAJ) Buyung Atang and Blue Bird vice operation director Ateng Aryono, along with a special team consisting of senior officials from his office, representatives from taxi companies, executives of the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) and authorities from the neighboring areas of Bekasi, Tangerang, Bogor and Depok discussed the matter over the weekend.

So far, they said, the team had three possibilities for dealing with the problem; having no restrictions at all, allowing taxis from outlying areas to drive Jakarta-bound passengers on condition that the vehicles leave the capital immediately afterward or collecting penalties from taxis which are not based in Jakarta but are operating within the capital.

"The discussion was held in the spirit of the new law on regional autonomy. The parties involved in the discussion tend to allow taxi operators based in Jakarta and its surrounding areas to operate freely," Ateng said on Saturday.

He agreed that taxi operators are subject to annual fees imposed by respective administrations, which also issue permits.

However, unlike bus operators, taxis do not follow a specific route as drivers go to destinations at the request of passengers, Ateng said.

Buyung said in an interview on Wednesday that with the options Jakarta-based taxi firms would no longer have to compete with rival companies from other (neighboring) cities.

"Aside from that, our objection is based on the fact that taxi operators are subject to fees imposed by administrations in their respective areas from which they obtain their permits.

"If they received a permit and paid fees to their respective administration, they should make their earnings in that area, not elsewhere," he said.

Buyung said it was hard for him to believe that several taxi companies in Jakarta had aired a strong protest to the plan, which, he said, was merely aimed at protecting their market and to limit the number of taxis in the Greater Jakarta area.

He said the protest was apparently voiced by taxi operators who had also set up similar businesses in Bogor, Tangerang and Bekasi areas.

He suspected that they were upset after his office rejected their applications for new taxi companies.

"Our study reveals that there are enough taxis in Jakarta, and that's why we have not issued permits for new taxi operators since 1998," he said.

Official data shows that there are 30 taxi operators in the capital, including PT President Taxi, PT Steady Safe, PT Blue Bird, PT Gamya and PT Kosti Jaya with a total of 22,000 vehicles roaming the streets of Jakarta. Another 17 operators are based in Bogor, Tangerang and Bekasi.

Some come from companies which were well-established in Jakarta.

Separately, head of the National Land Transportation Owners Organization GT Soerbakti welcomed the plan, saying that the guidelines were badly needed.

"We know that an increasing number of taxis in the capital could lead to an overabundance of them. Taxi operators in Jakarta should be grateful with the plan," he said.

However, Soerbakti explained that imposing the guidelines would not be easy work since many people working in Jakarta live outside the capital and taxis are a necessity for them.

The guidelines are slated to be signed by Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso and West Java Governor R. Nuriana. (lup)