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Hundreds of transport workers protest private cars, illegal fees

Detik.com - April 3, 2008

M. Rizal Maslan, Jakarta Ė Hundreds of inter-city public transport drivers demonstrated in front of the Jakarta Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on Wednesday April 3. They were demanding that the regional police and the Jakarta Department of Transport and Communication take action against black number plated vehicles (private cars) soliciting passengers in West Jakarta.

They also called on the DPRD's Commission B to improve the performance of the Metro Jaya regional police and the Jakarta Department of Transport and Communication saying that have failed to act firmly against unlicensed vehicles.

"Investigate and try rogue police officers and transport officials who are involved in protecting and accepting bribes from illegal public transport," said National Transport Workers Federation (FBTN) chairperson Saiful Millah during a speech in front of the DPRD on Jl. Kebon Sirih in Central Jakarta yesterday.

Millah threatened that if no concrete action is taken within the next two weeks, they would go on strike indefinitely. He also said he regretted that quick action is always taken against official inner-city public transport vehicles or those with yellow number plates who are involved in traffic violations, fail to pay fees, did not have drivers licenses or violated designated routes.

"But police officers and the Department of Transport and Communication are never controlled. Moreover the illegal fees that they collect are far cheaper [sic]," complained Mullah.

The FBTN is a federation of several trade unions including the Public Transport Drivers Union (SPAU), the National Transportation Trade Union (SBTN), the Blue Bird (taxi drivers) Trade Union (SPBB) and the Jakarta Transportation Company Trade Union (SP-PPD).

The protesters, who arrive at the DPRD at 11am, brought banners with messages such as "The growth in illegal inner-city transport is causing us constant worry", "Get rid of black number plated inner-city transport" and "Every day we pay fees, why is action taken against us".

The action, which proceeded peacefully, was closely watch over by around 10 police officers from the Gambir sectoral police. (anw/fay)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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