In praise of Indonesia's Blue Bird Taxis

Indonesia boasts what may well be the world's best taxi company. Actually, I think a National Geographic team awarded the Indonesian company this title.

Of course, I'm talking about Blue Bird Group taxis. When in Indonesia, take Blue Bird or Silver Bird.*

Blue bird taxis have the blue bird marking on the top of the windshield. They are blue, and in Jakarta they usually carry the Pusaka name. In Bali look for Bali Taxi.

With regular Blue Bird, you usually save money over other taxis because they take you where you are going without any hassles and the drivers are courteous.

As for other Indonesian taxis? Let's just say you have been warned.
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* Silver Bird is a far smaller fleet consisting of 700 Mercedes and large Toyota taxis that do pick ups at the major hotels. Silver Bird only charges a 20% premium. Blue
- Blue Bird Group website.
- The company operates a holiday resort on the island of Lombok. I've been there -- it's pleasant.

7 comments:

  1. It was years ago that blue bird is an trusted partner but its history. There are many other companies in Indonesia.
    I avoid blue bird now.

    Nice day
    Kurt

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kurt,

    Yes, there are other companies. And some are terrible. If you would specify those companies you consider preferable to Bluebird, that would be helpful.

    After all, a first-time visitor to Bali or Jakarta can easily do a lot worse than taking a Bluebird.

    If you don't mind paying the premium, I don't see how any company can beat Silverbird in Jakarta for comfort and safety.

    ReplyDelete
  3. In ther last one year I have been to Jakarta many times. The only two times I chose to take a cab other than BlueBird left me angry & disappointed. Let's just say, when in Jakarta, look no further than BlueBird. If not, you just might end up dead considering the horrible & murderous behaviour of other taxi-drivers. Occassionally I do use the services of Express (E Logo on top) Cabs also, and found them to be quite close to BlueBird in terms of service quality.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Other than Blue Bird, you can also trust Gamya and Express.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Irresponsible business practices by Blue Bird have lead to disruptive traffic patterns, road rage by their drivers, and yesterday attacks on Blue Bird cars (carrying guests)- I note- GUESTS ARE SAFE - but they may be very delayed.

    The background (from someone who takes taxis daily in Bali):

    Blue Bird is legally allowed 500 taxis to be in Bali. However, 750 are currently on island, and the company plans to send another 250 this year. By the end of this year, Blue Bird plans to have 500 illegal taxis on island which: 1) do not pay local taxes, 2) take business away from very professional local taxi drivers. Due to these tensions, a series of demonstrations have been held by local taxi drivers with no result. Tensions are now mounting and Blue Bird taxis are starting to exhibit road rage bordering on dangerous. I take taxis daily, and I have frequently seen Blue Bird taxis swerve directly into my lane to try to hit local taxis.

    For all companies, drivers who do not own their car have to pay a daily car-use fee and take home a portion of the remainder. For Blue Bird this fee is very high, so it's hard for them to reach this. While many are honest, some do what they can to run up the fare so they can take some home at the end of the day. Blue Bird or not, this situation is common in Bali, - please put into perspective the root of this behavior (hunger) if it happens to you. With more and more taxis on island, most drivers to not make any money most days of the week, so the incentive to do this is growing- and the result will be poorer service for tourists.

    For this reason, this is the 8th local protest against the company of Blue Bird Taxi by local taxi drivers in Bali. After each demo the government says they will rid Bali of the illegal taxi drivers, but as yet this has not happened. This is the first time demonstrations have lead to violence.

    The damage that occurred involved: up to 21 taxis were damaged (windows broken).

    The local taxi drivers made a point not to hurt any people. They consider the Blue Bird Taxi drivers just like them- people who have a hard time feeding their families. Local taxi drivers in Bali are only upset with the company and the lack of action by the government in enforcing the law.

    For example- all Blue Bird taxis caught in the demonstration were targets. However they made a point not to hurt anyone (even a Blue Bird driver who got out and started throwing stones). I know of one which was carrying a tourist who was sick to the hospital. THE LOCAL TAXIS CLEARED THE WAY FOR THIS BLUE BIRD TAXI ALLOWING IT TO GO QUICKLY TO THE HOSPITAL. This act shows tremendous empathy when they are fighting for their own survival.

    Advice for people traveling in Bali:

    METERS/FARES: All taxis on Bali are required to use meters. The fares are the same in all companies I have use during the past 18 months. Komotra and Ngeura Rai cost the same as Blue Bird, and in the long run are often cheaper because the drivers are FROM Bali, and know traffic patterns and short cuts better.

    COMPLAINTS: If you are unhappy with your driver, remember the taxi number and complain to the company. Blue Bird and Komotra have very harsh consequences for poor driver behavior, and people do get fired over this.

    THE BLUE BIRD SITUATION: I know people who want to support local businesses but are nervous about taking a local taxi simply because they are (incorrectly for Bali anyway) told that other companies are not safe for one reason or another. All taxis on Bali are maintained for safety and must meet standards (even if the AC sometimes doesn't work). If you take one but are nervous about being "taken for a ride", SIMPLY SAY "I SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL TAXI COMPANY" and they will be very happy, and treat you with respect as you have them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. NOT ONCE -- not a single time -- in hundreds of tax rides, did a Blue Bird taxi ever run up a fare on me. By contrast, non-Blue Bird drivers "played games" consistently.

    I used Blue Bird in Jakarta in 2008 (great service), but I haven't been to Bali since 2006. Nevertheless, I found some other complaints that BB service in Bali may have deteriorated:

    http://www.livinginindonesiaforum.org/archive/index.php/t-5874.html

    There has been a political shift in Indonesia over the past decade toward greater provincial autonomy, so this might be making it harder for a national company like BB to get licensed locally.

    Blue Bird's local competitors likely have far more political influence in 2010 than they did five years ago. Blue Bird posed a challenge to local companies because its own service has long been superior. Perhaps local firms find it easier to lobby (i.e. bribe) the Bali government to revoke BB's license than to improve their own business practices.

    http://blog.indahnesia.com/entry/201001310622/blue_taxi_s_on_bali_to_disappear.php

    http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/violence-again-flares-against-blue-bird-in-bali/379185

    http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/bali-taxi-wars-turn-ugly-drivers-attack-blue-bird/379308

    http://balipod.com/bali-news-indonesia-news-f26/blue-bird-taxi-drivers-attacked-local-drivers-t4612.html

    http://www.beyondbali-hotels.com/messages/message.asp?Id=5801

    ReplyDelete
  7. NOT ONCE -- not a single time -- in hundreds of tax rides, did a Blue Bird taxi ever run up a fare on me. By contrast, non-Blue Bird drivers "played games" consistently.

    I used Blue Bird in Jakarta in 2008 (great service), but I haven't been to Bali since 2006. Nevertheless, I found some other complaints that BB service in Bali may have deteriorated:

    http://www.livinginindonesiaforum.org/archive/index.php/t-5874.html

    Blue Bird's local competitors likely have far more political influence in 2010 than they did several years ago. There has been a political shift in Indonesia over the past decade toward greater provincial autonomy; this might be making it harder for a national company like BB to get licensed locally.

    Blue Bird posed a challenge to local companies because its own service has long been far superior. And it has earned a good reputation with visitors. Perhaps local firms find it easier to pressure the Bali government to revoke BB's license than to improve their own business practices.

    http://blog.indahnesia.com/entry/201001310622/blue_taxi_s_on_bali_to_disappear.php

    http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/violence-again-flares-against-blue-bird-in-bali/379185

    http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/bali-taxi-wars-turn-ugly-drivers-attack-blue-bird/379308

    http://balipod.com/bali-news-indonesia-news-f26/blue-bird-taxi-drivers-attacked-local-drivers-t4612.html

    http://www.beyondbali-hotels.com/messages/message.asp?Id=5801

    ReplyDelete