Ahok Says Jakarta Won’t Hesitate to Take Uber Cars Off Streets

A woman shows the Uber apps on her smartphone in Jakarta, Wednesday (13/8). JG Photo/Jurnasyanto

A woman shows the Uber app on her smartphone in Jakarta, on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (JG Photo/Jurnasyanto)

Jakarta. Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama on Tuesday called on the premium-grade car rental services provider Uber Technologies to shut down its Jakarta operations, saying the company does not have the required taxi permit.

“If they want to comply with the regulations, Uber taxi must be stopped,” Basuki said on Tuesday.

The deputy governor emphasized that Uber Technologies needs a license from the city’s transportation agency and that the company also most likely does not have a tax registration number (NPWP).

“They need a permit to clarify the company’s status,” Basuki said, adding that Uber also needed to make public details such as an office address and owner information.

“They are doing business in Indonesia and there are regulations,” he added. “If a company makes profit, it has to pay taxes. If it doesn’t have a permit and an NPWP and it doesn’t pay taxes, then it is breaking all the rules — that would amount to tax evasion.”

Uber uses a smartphone application that allows people to rent premium-grade cars — along with a private driver — at an affordable rate. The app was launched in Jakarta earlier this month, and is already available in 43 other countries around the world.

Basuki said the city administration would not hesitate to take Uber’s cars off the streets should the company refuse to voluntarily shut down its operations.

“We must stop the cars. It’s easy: all we need to do is install the application and order a car, and when the car arrives we arrest them,” he said.

Basuki also argued that without a proper operational permit, the safety of Uber passengers could not be guaranteed. He explained that legal taxi operators are required to provide information about the driver and their vehicle number, so that passengers can identify the driver if necessary.

“When we get into a taxi, we can always check the name of the company, the driver and the taxi number. Now the question is: who exactly owns Uber? Where is their office? If they want to operate in Jakarta, the should make this official,” Basuki said.

Uber’s regional general manager Michael Brown has previously told the Jakarta Globe that the company was looking forward to having “constructive discussions with the government and non-governmental stakeholders on how the company’s technology would add value to Indonesian consumers, drivers and communities.”

Brown stressed that all of the company’s rental partners are licensed and authorized and that its operation was compliant with Indonesian law.

  • Markus in Indonesia

    Could someone please tell me how long has the illegal taxi
    services have been running at any Airport in Indonesia as I never seen one person
    arrested or charged in the paper for tax evasion or braking the law for the
    last 2yrs of me being here. So that’s 2yrs I know of for that and Uber has been
    here what 2 weeks? Ha ha just one more Joke from this part time government that’s
    all gone soon, mmmmm Let me see if your Indonesian and somehow got ya self a
    SIM (buy it) and own some peace of rubbish car you can pick up at any Airport drive like
    crazy to where ever they want to go and ask for a one off price? Pay NO taxes
    and no one has insurance if in a accident, which is high considering that
    47,600 odd deaths in 2013 in traffic accidents.

    • Fridge Jug

      While I agree with your point, I think the reason for focusing on Uber is, since it’s new here and need to be made clear immediately that it’s illegal for now while it’s still at its infancy and relatively easy to handle. To be fair, the other widely known problematic/unlicensed tranport (i.e illegal taxis and ojeks etc) had been here for ages and Ahok simply inherits the problem, something that exists for so long can’t be dealt with overnight and I believe it’s not on top of his priority list.

      • Psymon Peers

        @fridgejug:disqus yes… but there is a wider reaching effect here, a globally successful corporate tech company launches in Indonesia and with in 2 weeks is forced to shut down… not a huge confidence booster for others looking to come here? and if there are permitting issues then the company is 100% in the wrong although I was under the impression that the cars are driver owned and uber just acts as a booking agent?

        • Fridge Jug

          I have no worries about this hindering other foreign investments here, Indonesia is not the only country having an issue with Uber. Irregardless of their business model, a business needs a legal entity where it operates. Even more so if you’re a globally successful corporate tech company, as you put it.

  • Eki Setijadi

    so why the govt has to be the one reach out to Mr Brown first? Why not him? Why did he launch the program without the permit on the first place anyway…as far as I know, everyone who has car can become a driver for Uber so even they are skilled drivers and have clean cars doesn’t mean something bad could not happen, definitely need legal permit to guarantee that. Also, just to remind you that they are a foreign company who is trying to make profit here and try to escape paying taxes too. What a joke. If I’m Ahok I will never give them any permit and set up his own services to do similar thing.

  • Professowl on duty

    I can make my own ‘at least’ to support the ojek.

  • Psymon Peers

    has he checked the state of the other taxis in this city? catching an express taxi is like rolling the dice with death! sounds like someone didn’t get an invitation to the launch party?

  • Jakartan

    I’m almost certain that some of the pro-Uber comments were posted by Uber launcher team members. These are mostly US-educated Korean or Singaporean arrogant bastards who think they are all that being associated with a hot Silicon Valley startup. They didn’t bother to do proper research of how to do business in Indonesia and think that their Silicon Valley arrogance will win them business here. Well guess what? I think they had blew Uber’s chances to launch in Jakarta and the damage will not be easy to rectify. Travis Kalanick will have to fire these people and I hope the humbling experience in Jakarta will teach them a thing or two of how to adjust a global business model locally. Having a cool technology doesn’t make you untouchables, at least not in Jakarta.

    • Valkyrie1604

      J…. “Arrogant.Bastards”? My, my that’s heavy language you’re using here. You sure the lot of them have illegitimate parents?

  • Bang Koja

    Uber Taxi in Jakarta? Are you sure that’s a good idea? We got too many problems as it is with legal taxi drivers trying to take advantage their passengers, even worse some of those drivers have known to leave you by the side of the road, kidnap, extort, rape, etc.

    • Picky

      That’s not true. Taxi in Indonesia offers much better services than most neighboring countries and most of the time very reliable especially for certain brands.

      • Valkyrie1604

        Picky…….as your name suggests, I recommend you take the MRT when next in Singapore………no brands there just “SMRT”. Taxis will be too expensive for you. All buses in Singapore have CCTVs installed. You’ll be safe riding a bus too!

        Have you ever read about a taxi driver in Singapore who returned almost $900,000 to a Thai Couple who left the money in his cab?

        Taking a cab in Singapore can be expensive, but I can assure you, it’s safe.

  • Bang Koja

    I’m not saying that Uber Taxi shouldn’t be allowed to try to operate in Jakarta. However, I think it’s very reasonable for traditional taxi drivers to question the legality of companies such as Uber Taxi. Even in the U.S., many cities are still reviewing whether they want to allow Uber Taxi to keep operating. Not just in term of security, from the legality POV, if the City is going to provide a set of rules for the traditional taxi companies to operate by then those rules should be applicable to Uber Taxi as well. If they’re all in the same business line then the rules should be enforced on all of them not just a few. That way everyone is playing on an even playing field. Btw, identity & profile can be easily fabricated, especially here in Jakarta.