Bisnis Bali recently presented a page-one review of the state of metered taxi service in Bali and the negative impact the poor behavior of taxi drivers is having on the Island's reputation as a tourist destination.
The report alleges that many drivers refuse to use tax meters, preferring negotiated fares imposed on unsuspecting visitors. When passengers adamantly insist on the meter being used, many drivers will take retaliate by taking circuitous routes to ensure the highest possible fare..
At the end of a tax ride, according to Bisnis Bali, taxi drivers retaliate further by feigning an inability to make change, upping the fare even more.
The director of the Consumer Protection Agency in Bali (YLPK-Bali), I Putu Armaya, explained the term "argo tembak" is used to describe the refusal of tax drivers in Bali to engage a taxi-meter, favoring instead to negotiate a more lucrative price directly with the customer.
A recent survey conducted among passengers at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport revealed widespread disaffection with taxi service to and from the airport, specifically mentioning the practice of "argo tembak" and the resulting victimization of Island visitors.
Armaya said: "Until now, there are many taxis refusing to use their meters. This requires firm action."
The use of taximeters is under the supervision of the Bali Transportation Office that has it within their statutory power to jail drivers and revokes the operating licenses of taxi companies refusing to use taximeters in the transport of their passengers.
Joining Armaya in condemning the failure of many operators to use taximeters is Eddy Dharma Putra of the Bali Tourist Transportation Organization (Organda), who shares the view that the unprincipled behavior of taxi companies and their drivers is damaging the reputation of Bali.
In response to these complaints, Wayan Pande Sudirtha, the chairman of Koptax (Taxi Cooperative) at the airport, blames taxi customers citing them as the party requesting that requesting negotiated instead of metered taxi rides. Sudirtha also contends that the negotiated price offered by taxi drivers is oftentimes less than the fare would be if the meter were used.
Sudirtha claims traffic congestion in Bali can often result in high metered taxi fares that are substantially more than whatt might be agreed beforehand directly with the driver.
Sudirtha. nonetheless, insisted that sanctions are still imposed on drivers proven to be refusing to use official meters.
The official metered tax rate in Bali is Rp. 6,000 (US$0.52) on flag fall and Rp, 5,700 (US$0.50) per kilometer of distance traveled.
Pande complained that the 907 taxis registered in his cooperative enjoy very limited incomes.
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