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Bali's Blue Bird of Happiness Threatened with Extinction

Permit Anomalies at Bali's Blue Bird Taxi Threaten to Close Down 500 Car Fleet.

(1/30/2010) Bali's Transportation, Information and Communication Department (Dishubinfokom) is not prepared to make comment regarding widely publicized allegations in island's press that the well known Blue Bird taxi fleet is operating illegally under licenses owned by the now defunct PT Bali Praja Transport.

Quoted by the national news agency Antara, the head of Dishubinfokom, I Made Santha, said: "We are not yet prepared to comment on the problem of permits for Blue Bird in Bali being facilitated on the name of PT Bali Praja Transport. We continue to investigate." He said that his department is studying the problem as a member of team comprising members from the provincial government of Bali, the Bureau for Development and the Economy, the Legal Bureau and the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD).

Santha continued: "Through the gathering of additional information regarding the use of Bali Praja's permits, we will jointly examine the taxi operation (Blue Bird) in order to determine the truth of the accusation."

Santha, a former employee of Bali's Cultural Department, added: "If it is eventually proven that there has been an improper use of another company's permits, we will certainly finish the matter in accordance with the law and rules in place."

Earlier, the Chairman of Commission I of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), I Made Arjaya, said that his observations in the field confirm that Blue Bird Taxis is operating without the necessary permits. The recent request submitted to the provincial government of Bali to allow 250 new taxis under the Blue Bird brand was done on the name of PT Bali Praja Transport and not Blue Bird. Arjaya is asking the subject 250 permits be revoked.

Blue Bird Taxis' lack of a proper legal footing has prompted calls in the local media for all the company's taxis to be impounded until the matter is resolved.