Indonesia – Why Curb Competition?

Just got back from a nice little walk, and just as well, as it looks like the rain will start up. 

I have a nice Stone Age handphone, a good old-fashioned Nokia, which allows me to call and receive calls and send and get sms messages.

It also functions as an alarm clock.



More than that I do not need.

Yet a friend last week urged me to go modern, get one of those smart-phones that does everything save the washing up.

Why am I thinking about it?

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Because the Grab cars and Gojeks etc. don’t respond to all hand-phones, only to those with internet applications.

And as my drinking buddy affirmed, they are a lot cheaper than cabs and ojeks, the traditional biker-taxi geezers here. The latter can be especially rapacious if the customer is a foreigner – the loons reckon we are all rich!

I have explained to some of the wannabe rip-off bikers that while some foreigners, like lefty NGO snowflakes…

posh foreign pinko

…are grossly overpaid, many ‘expats’ are in fact retired, or back-packers, or NOT in high-salaried jobs!

My pal is right. I have used Gojeks, thanks to people who have the ‘app,’ and the price is significantly less expensive. However, the news reports last week have again discouraged me from trading ‘up.’ It seems regional administrations will be able to set a minimum and maximum limit to fares…

A MINIMUM limit?

This bizarre scheme emanates from Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi and is said to be a response to whining from the old taxi companies which can’t handle competition.


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I’d have thought Budi might be better advised, if he must interfere in matters that have naught to do with safety on the roads, to impose rules on the taxi sector, forcing them to require drivers to pass a local version of The Knowledge…

Hasil gambar untuk The knowledge taxis

…that famous test undergone by would-be London cabbies before they may ply for fares.

It never ceases to amaze me that Jakarta taxi-drivers can be so utterly ignorant of their city. I often know more than they do.

One former colleague became so exasperated that he told the driver to change places and, thus securely in the driving seat, got to his destination quickly, if not perhaps legally!


More fun walking?


It all reminds me of the weirdly negative attitude in Bali towards new tourist accommodation, local government efforts to limit the number of new hotels that spring up.

I’d see the merits of such a policy if they were marring areas of beautiful scenery ( like those girls in the photo above!) or of historic interest.

But in Kuta or Legian or Tuban?

Kuta Square

  • Get real!

The more competition the better, for if that’s the case, then the hotels, hostels, B n Bs, etc., will need to offer ever-cheaper prices to lure guests!

That means even the ritzy joints too, and why not?