Thresa Sandra Desfika, Jakarta – Gojek Indonesia and Grab, the top two ride-hailing companies in Indonesia, are facing a regulatory hurdle that could make a significant dent in their largest market: the capital Jakarta.
The city is planning to expand its limited, number plate-based, car ban on major thoroughfares – known as the "odd-even" rule – to reduce air pollution starting next month.
The Online Drivers Association (ADO), representing Gojek's and Grab's driver-partners, has pointed out the expansion of the rule will hit them where it really hurts: their pockets."[The new rule] presents a serious obstacle for us," ADO secretary general Wiwit Sudarsono said in a statement on Wednesday.
Today, only taxis, public transportation, emergency vehicles and handicap cars are exempted from the odd-even rule.
Gojek and Grab drivers have found support from Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, who is proposing a special discretion for them to be able to operate in odd-even zones.
"This discretion will help hundreds of thousands of drivers in ride-hailing companies," Wiwit said.
The ADO said a sticker can be applied on ride-hailing cars to allow them to operate in odd-even zones.
Gojek and Grab have been dealing with the current odd-even rule by tweaking their algorithms to allow passengers to choose cars with odd or even number plates.
The companies are worried the expanded rule will reduce the number of orders on their apps.
"The expanded rule will cut our driver-partners' income," Grab Indonesia president director Ridzki Kramadibrata told reporters after a meeting with the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs on Tuesday.
"People now think of online taxi as part of the public transportation system. It helps their economic activities. It also reduces the number of private vehicles on the road since each online taxi can make 10 to 20 trips a day," Rizki said.
A recently released study by the Center for Strategic and Intelligence Studies and Tenggara Strategics showed Grab contributing $3.5 billion to the Indonesian economy last year and doubling the income of their driver-partners.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the city council is taking advice and input on the odd-even zone expansion and will conduct a study to look into its impact before making further decisions.