Controversy over New Public Riding Policy

Grab and Uber

I want to keep this short and sweet, so I’ll just elaborate the new public riding controversy in Indonesia.

Some of our public ride drivers — we call it Angkot — held several protests towards our government demanding justice be delivered toward the so-called sharing economy companies, like Uber and Grab as depicted from the picture above.

I didn’t follow the news frequently, but from what I gathered, those protesters wanted those companies to have a system like they do — I’ll explain below.

And guess what, they got it. And more.

So, recently our government released a new policy about public ride, covering most aspects which eventually makes me think that our government despises those companies very much. The government answered the protesters’ demands with a sweet answer, albeit brewing some controversy among Indonesia citizens.

The system that our government has proposed has several characteristics as below. This applies to all including the the ones mentioned by our government as IT-based public ride companies:

  1.  Define the minimum — and possibly maximum — fares for all its riding service. Those fares must meet government’s approval to be applied.
  2.  Apply incremental fares rules as the time goes by or the distance increases.
  3.  Has legal national entities albeit those companies are multinational. This requires certain procedures to be followed.
  4.  Acquiring all personal drivers’ vehicles as companies property. This also requires a certain procedure to be followed.
  5. IT-based public ride companies are not allowed to recruit drivers directly, determine drivers’ salaries and [constant] riding fares.

I think this will inhibit people from gaining most benefit of advancement of technology and innovation. This policy will be valid on 1 April 2017, and I think this is a little bit ironic when you consider the date as the April Fool’s Day. Because a part of me wants this policy to be just a prank and nothing more. But I guess a man can only hope.

In the end, this controversy is just a small matter compared to the real complex problems faced by billions of people worldwide — AI and automation.

Updated on 21 March 2017

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