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Cheating the Scales in Bali

Beware of Fraudulent Taxi Meters in Bali.

(10/30/2010) Bisnis Bali has called on the Department of Transportation to regulate the use of taxi meters in Bali where, according to the Bali Consumer Protection Bureau (LPK), many fraudulent meters are in operation.

"The are many reports of losses suffered by the public," said the chief of the LPK in Bali, Putu Arnaya, on Tuesday, October 26, 2010. He said that the law made it the responsibility of taxi owners to have their tariff meters periodically re-calibrated and resealed. Adding, "Every measuring device must be resealed and re-certified by the Metrology Agency before any meter or measuring instrument can be use in a commercial situation."

Arnaya explained that taxi meters must be re-certified once every three months. According to the rules, if a fraudulent use of a taxi meter is uncovered the operating license of the taxi can be revoked and the driver charged with a crime.

Arnaya believes that the notoriously wildly fluctuating tariff levels for taxis in Bali resulting from illegal meters threatens Bali's tourism image. He said that local transportation officials working in cooperation with the provincial government must take firm action again taxi owners and drivers who are cheating their passengers and hurting Bali's international reputation. The problem is further compounded by the large number of gypsy taxis in Bali operating with no meters at all.

The chairman of the Tourism Transportation Association (Paguyuban Jasa Wisata Bali PJWB), IGM Oka Sukranita, admitted that there are still drivers who use fraudulent taxi meters. "If there are taxi drivers using illegal fares and meters in the PJWB, we will publish them firmly," said Oka.

Oka went to explain that the wages of taxi drivers is very small due to the intense competition for business. Nonetheless, he admitted that competition alone should not become a reason to destroy the image of Bali's taxi drivers.

Oka insists that new taxi licenses being issued by the government are adding to the existing poverty of taxi drivers. Oka said that since "non-Balinese" taxis have been allowed to operate in Bali drivers are often unable to accumulate the minimum daily turnover in fares that must be paid to the vehicle's owner. He said of the 2,400 taxis now operating in Bali, 750 are taxis from outside Bali.

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