Tue, 10 Oct 2000

Organda seeks immediate taxi fare rise because of fuel hike

JAKARTA (JP): As a consequence of the recent fuel price hike, the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) called on the city council and the city administration on Monday to set new taxi fares this week.

"If possible the governor and the city council can give us the decision this week because the fare hike is necessary for taxi firms, otherwise they may not be able to survive," chairman of Organda's Jakarta chapter Aip Sjarifuddin said after a meeting between Organda, the City Land Transportation Agency (DLLAJ) and the city council.

"Taxi firms need the 45 percent hike, and in return they will improve their services to the public. The hike is not simply to facilitate taxi companies but also for the benefit of the public," he said.

He said that Organda would wait for the administration's decision and not raise fares without approval from city council.

The meeting on Monday discussed the percentage of the fare increase and the date for its implementation. But, it ended in a stalemate over the amount of the increase.

The city council maintained its stance to issue its decision within one month and delegated the responsibility to decide on the new fare to the council speaker.

Councillor Saud Rahman of the United Development Party (PPP) said the most reasonable hike was 10 percent to 20 percent, because the average fuel hike was only 12 percent.

"It's weird that they asked for a 45 percent hike. I do not understand where they got the figure," Saud told journalists.

Organda and DLLAJ had to suspend the controversial regulation on the taxi fare increase last month because of strong objections from the public and from councillors.

Through Gubernatorial Decree No. 2503 dated Aug. 22, the administration agreed to hike the flag fall from Rp 2,000 (25 U.S.cents) to Rp 3,000, and the charge from Rp 900 per kilometer to Rp 1,300 per kilometer. The waiting fee would also be increased from Rp 10,000 to Rp 13,000 per hour.

Upon the governor's approval, Organda issued a regulation on the fare hike on Aug. 24, stipulating that the increase would take effect on Sept. 1.

The Aug. 24 regulation was issued under authority of the decree issued by the Minister of Transportation in 1998, which stipulated that Organda did not need to secure the governor's approval, citing that the approval was only a requirement for the issuance of a regulation.

"If the city council authorizes a hike of less than 45 percent, it would be better not to hike the fare at all because anything less than that will not be enough for," head of Organda's taxi unit Izhak Rumeidy said.

Izhak said that from the 45 percent hike, some 25 percent would be used by the firms to buy new taxis, while the remaining 20 percent would be allocated for the drivers' wages.

"We'll also raise the rental fee for the drivers three months after the regulation is implemented," Izhak said. (dja)