Over the weekend, 11 vehicles were seized by police, local media reported. This involved cars from all three app-based ride-hailing services that operate in Jakarta – Uber, Grab, and Go-Jek’s Go-Car. A traffic police official told Detik the cars were taken because the drivers didn’t carry the required licenses.

License to drive

Ever since Uber-like ride-hailing services became popular in Indonesia in 2015, authorities have struggled to lay out rules for them.

Some demanded that ride-sharing apps bow to the same regulations as metered taxis. More progressive voices argued new rules must be formed for ride-hailing, because the system resembles car rentals rather than metered taxis.

In March, a truce between ride-hailing apps and the ministry of transportation was reached, with the latter passing a new regulation. It requires Uber and its competitors to have their cars go through a road safety test, and register them as commercial vehicles, for example through a car rental company.

The companies were given a period of time to comply. The latest deadline is said to be October 1.

Less tolerance

This raises the question why the raids took place now, some months before the compliance deadline.

It looks like authorities are enforcing a stricter interpretation of the “tolerance period.”

A spokesperson for the ministry of transportation yesterday confirmed that the tolerance time means only vehicles that have already obtained all necessary licenses can operate, not those still in the application process.

Only about 100 ride-hailing vehicles, from all three companies combined, have already fulfilled all demands, the ministry said.

All this indicates that the struggle is far from over for ride-hailing apps in Jakarta.

It’s possible the stricter enforcement has to do with the appointment of a new transportation minister on July 27. Budi Karya Sumadi has yet to come out with a position on the controversial issue.

Over the weekend, he told media that he plans to invite Uber, Grab, and Go-Jek this week to discuss the matter.

A version of this appeared in Tech in Asia on August 1. Read the full story here

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