Bali. Day 5: Cassie vs The Taxi Mafia.

Respect the family.


I learnt a harsh and frustrating lesson today – I hate bartering in foreign countries, I spend too much time on it, get anxious and then go home and realise I spent 18 minutes and dismissed 3 taxis for the equivalent of 20 pence. So obviously I got super excited when I found out that Uber has been rolled out in Bali.

Uber is a multinational car company via an app. Obviously this is perfect in a country where language can be a barrier and trying to navigate with 4 people who could get losr in a changing room.

Anyway, today, I ordered an Uber to pick me up from the hotel so I could take myself out on a date in central Kuta. What a malarkey!!

The first problem is  Ubers in Bali cancel all the time, or don’t head towards you so that you can cancel them and they can receive the cancellation fee, hoping that they can get a better fare.

The second problem (which I found out) is that the metered taxi drivers in Bali are generally not big fans of the Uber drivers, this is because they feel they are undercutting them and they are taking a large majority of their business.

ube

So I felt bad my sweet Uber driver, he was young and came to pick me up at the gates of the hotel, I had been waiting outside with one of the security guards of the hotel. He had asked me if I was waiting for my driver and then went to ask one of the waiting metered taxi-drivers if they could take me, as I had already booked I stated that I was fine so he waited with me for my Uber to come. The metered taxi-driver and the security guard were talking to me about why some people don’t like Uber. My Uber fare estimate was about 60% cheaper than the metered taxi quote!!

So poor I Wayan (my uber driver) arrived, I sat in the car and before we could drive off, the metered taxi driver yanks open the door of the car, takes the car keys out of the ignition, walks off and throws them and the Uber driver looks like he wants to cry and does nothing to defend himself. It was awful! I was so distressed, it was such an aggressive move (though amusingly, still in the polite Balinese manner) and I wasn’t going to give the taxi mafia bullies the satisfaction of ordering a car from them.. so I sweatingly (?!) walked 25 minutes just so I could get away and order a taxi in peace.

Later, I found signs like the ones below. I spoke to a metered taxi driver about how this is affecting the transport – he believes that if the metered taxi drivers were more honest and didn’t try to overcharge the tourists more people would use them. He also doesn’t agree about the money being shared with the locals, however it had impacted his finances significantly which I could understand, the taxi drivers are being drowned by the competition and is destroying their livelihood.

ub

The uber drivers are also trying to make a living though and face threats, aggression and have even had their cars confiscated.

I do not think it is feasible that Uber can be banned by the locals long-term and it is not enforceable, a change is coming!

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