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(3/22/2010) www.balidiscovery.com's recent editorial on the real dynamics behind the power struggle taking place among Bali's taxi operators stimulated an unprecedented number of readers to write in to express their view. [Who Speaks for the Public] and [Heil! Taxi! Heil!]
• Claudius Wirz from Switzerland:
"I could not agree more with your statement to the Bali taxi war! It's so true!"
• Kelvin Warburton from Australia:
"My wife and i were in Bali at the beginning of March this year. Yes we do use blue bird but will every now and then get the next taxi coming our way what ever it may be BUT. Once again we had difficulties with the other company drivers asking for X amount of money to take us to our destination instead of turning the meter on and then getting sullen when we make them turn the meter on. Also I have noticed that if we don't get a bemo to take us but hope into a taxi instead we are now getting sworn at. Not always, but it is trend happening."
• Kathryn Sweeney in the U.K. wrote:
"I totally agree with the sentiments put forward about Bluebird taxis. I have used them on past visits and found them to be extremely courteous and helpful in all matters. How can we out here over the Internet support these guys so they can continue to work? If there is anything I can do to support them in any way please let me know."
• Rick Higginson in Australia:
"Well said Jack! My first trip to Bali, Aug '06, I got caught out with a IDR225,000 fee from Bemo corner to the beach end of Double 6. Should have been IDR 22,500 but with the meter half-hidden by the gear stick, and not knowing any better, I paid. Will be in Bali next week on my 11th visit, and, like many others, would rather walk than take a taxi other than Blue Bird. I have been yelled at, abused, and once, hit by taxi drivers from other companies, whilst insisting on my preference for Blue Bird. A visit to Bali Forum, and other similar sites, shows how much Blue Bird is loved, and the other taxi operators hated, by regular visitors to Bali. LONG LIVE BLUE BIRD TAXIS!"
• Steve Bradley a travel agent in Australia :
"Bluebird Taxis have been my carrier of choice in Bali since their inception. They have always been the reliable, honest choice, whereas others have tried to "rip off" for short gain. Covered meters, "broken meters" all sorts of excuses and a reason to get out of the cab! Things have changed over the last few years where these "other colored cabs" have realized that they are ignored by many, due to their grubby practices. As a Travel Agent, I have always advised my clients to use Bluebird for reliability, honesty and pleasant drivers...language can sometimes be a problem with some young drivers, but there is always joviality in the cab and a deserved tip for their service!"
• Bruce Wyder wrote:
"As I come to Bali 3-4 times a year, I use taxis a lot. Blue Bird are far ahead of the green, gray and dark blue taxis. Blue Bird taxis are superior in service, promptness and a clean cab. In November I got caught in a bad traffic jam and the driver had the decency to turn the meter off which really impressed me."
• Joan wrote in :
" I totally agree with your article on "who is the real victim". I have been a regular visitor to Bali for many years and am one of those who prefer to wait in the rain for a Blue Bird to come along. The other cab drivers are rude, they try to talk you into not using the meter and when the meter is used the fare is always a lot higher for the same distance using a Blue Bird Taxi. Blue Bird Taxis have my full vote!"
• Shirley wrote :
"I certainly hope this problem comes to an end soon and in favor of Blue Bird taxis. Our son lives in Renon and I frequently take a taxi to his home from the hotel in Sanur. One day the driver said he remembered taking me there several years before!! The drivers are, for the most part, very friendly and certainly reliable. It is a well run company and they deserve the business."
• Charlotte writing from Indonesia :
"JA, BRAVO - nothing more to add. Hopefully this article reaches the persons in charge - including the Governor."
• Brigid said:
"Well put! Even after many years of living in Bali I would only ever take Blue Bird. Except when there is no option given such as the airport... One incident we had returning from a long-haul trip overseas the Taxi driver (who dropped us at our home in Sanur) stole all our duty-free alcohol and a shopping bag full of magazines and books. (He shut the boot quickly and didn't let us check inside that we had everything and drove off in a big hurry.) I realized as soon as we took our bags inside…There was no one to report it to. even after trying to ring the airport and even going in the next day to lay a complaint - we were simply told that it was another 'team' on the night before and had total disregard for our situation. Bali has a lot of stuff to work out in regard to the way it looks after and treats tourists…there is plenty of competition for the Asian vacation dollar these days."
• Pamela Burt in Australia :
"Agree totally with all you have stated. I will stand and wait for Blue Bird taxi and find the taxi service from airport has some rogue drivers."
• Geoff & Dorothy Longhurst from Australia wrote:
"What an excellent editorial on the Bali Taxi situation. My Wife and I visit Bali twice yearly, and we get met at the Airport by our friend who manages the Bali Rich Property and transferred there. After that, we would only travel by Bluebird or private contractor recommended by the management of the Property we are staying at. Our experiences of Taxi Driver behavior outside of Bluebird have been dreadful, and frankly if Bluebird was for some politically misguided reason forced to close I doubt we would travel to Bali, instead spending more time in Fiji, Vanuatu or Tonga, as frankly the hassle each day with other Taxi Company Drivers would make any stay too stressful."
• Eve Dimitrov from Canada:
"If you want visitors to enjoy their holiday, then keep the Blue Bird Taxi service. The cabs are CLEAN, the drivers Polite, the meter CORRECT. I am a frequent visitor, twice a year for the past 8 years. Komotra drivers are not to be trusted.
• Richard from Australia :
"Oh so very well said. Right on the money."
• Nicholas Rety from Canada :
"I left my wallet, full of money in a Blue Bird taxi. The driver returned it to my hotel. A driver of a competing taxi company kept my digital camera. It was recovered by a Balinese friend who tracked him down. The taxi fiasco at Ngurah Rai airport gives a bad impression of Bali right from the start. It is corruption, it should be stopped."
• Lorraine wrote :
"Regarding the Taxi situation you are 100% correct. My Husband and I are frequent travelers to Bali 2-3 time each year. We will not use any other than Blue Bird Taxis and would rather walk than ride in any of the others. Also when once catching a Taxi from Airport (paid in advance) was asked for payment again when we arrived at our destination. We now have our Driver come and collect us. I suggest everyone boycotts all other than Blue Bird Taxis until this is sorted out."
• Margaretha Linggard wrote :
"My opinion may already have been voiced by other readers; having been away from Bali for a while I have missed some of the readers' comments. The reason Blue Bird Taxis are so popular, and yes we do need more of them, is that there is a 90 per cent chance that their drivers know where to take you and deliver you at the stated address with some certainty, safety and comfort, and what's more, at a fair price. All this is not at all to be guaranteed by any of the other organized or not organized, legal and insured, or illegal and uninsured taxi drivers. I have had some ghastly experiences with taxis, missing appointments and being stranded in the middle of nowhere at twice the price of a Blue Bird taxi's. Sorry guys, but firstly you need to learn to read maps and know where the addresses of your potential clients are, then you may have a stronger point to argue. Until then, for me, Blue Bird taxis are fine in addition to my private driver, who is the best - when he is available."