Tue, 01 Aug 2000

Pros and cons over non Jakarta-based taxis

JAKARTA (JP): The decision adopted recently by the Land Transportation Agency (DLLAJ) for its Jakarta chapter to prohibit non Jakarta-based taxis has received strong objections from owners of Jakarta-based taxis.

However, several taxi drivers are in favor of the decision.

Contacted separately on Monday, chairman of the Land Transportation Agency's Jakarta chapter, Aip Syarifudin, and an executive of the Blue Bird taxi company, said the DLLAJ's decision was unfair.

According to Aip, the DLLAJ had difficulty accepting the idea to net taxis, who are licensed only to operate in Jakarta's outskirts, such as Tangerang, Bogor, Depok and Bekasi but also carried passengers to the capital, since many Jakarta-based taxis also operated outside the capital's border.

"Everyday, there are some 3,000 Jakarta taxi drivers, who're lining up for customers at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (in Tangerang), which is administratively under the supervision of West Java authorities," Aip said.

Like Tangerang, areas of Bogor, Depok and Bekasi are all administrated by the West Java government.

DLLAJ Jakarta netted 32 taxis from non-Jakarta companies on Wednesday and Thursday last week during a street check.

The agency's head, Buyung Atang, reportedly said that the street check was conducted in accordance with the operation permits issued by the West Java government that prohibited West Java-based taxis to operate in the capital.

Operational deputy director of the Blue Bird group, the biggest and most popular taxi company in the capital, Ateng Aryono, said that it's impossible to restrict taxis from outside Jakarta from entering the city.

"We all know that many people who work in the city live in many areas in Bogor, Bekasi, and Tangerang and they often use a taxi service as their mode of transportation," Ateng said.

"The government cannot apply the regulation they use for angkot (public minivans) which only serve routes that are especially assigned for them," he added.

"Taxi service is a door-to-door service. They take passengers to their final destination, wherever it is."

According to Aip, there has been an unwritten commitment by DLLAJ in 1996 which stated that taxis from Bogor, Tangerang, Depok and Bekasi were free to operate in Jakarta.

"But many of the DLLAJ's administrators (who made the commitment) have already been replaced by other people," Aip said.

Aip therefore suggested that the DLLAJ and taxi owners should meet again to discuss the matter.

Ateng from Blue Bird said that he was not worried that the operation of non-Jakarta taxi services would reduce his company's earning.

"Besides we don't know yet whether the number of taxis operating in the city is already sufficient," Ateng said.

According to Aip, the capital is already home to some 21,500 taxis from 30 companies, who have licenses to serve customers in Jakarta.

But taxi drivers have their own opinion about the DLLAJ's decision.

"I fully support the decision because the presence of taxis from outside Jakarta such as Tiffany and Internusa have reduced the number of our passengers here," a Koperasi taxi driver who refused to be named said.

A Prestasi taxi driver, Untung Sunarto, shared the idea, by saying that there were already too many taxis in the city.

"We can't afford to have taxis from outside here," he said.

No executives of Tiffany, Internusa and other non Jakarta- based taxi firms could be reached to comment. (jaw)