Uber to Offer Jakarta Commuters a Ride

Uber to Offer Jakarta Commuters a Ride

By Dion Bisara on 07:27 pm May 23, 2014

Leipzig. Uber, a transportation network company, is putting the final touches on its plans to start operation in Jakarta, as part of its expansion in Southeast Asia region.

The San Francisco-based company, which is looking for a $12 billion valuation, according to a Wall Street Journal report, is recruiting local talents to assume the responsibilities of a general manager, community manager, and operations manager.

Uber make smartphone applications that allow motorists — from licensed taxi drivers, rental car businesses, to part time students and housewives — to earn money by providing rides to other Uber customers at a price lower than a regular taxi service .

Corey Owens, head of public policy at Uber said the company is “eager” to come to Jakarta.

“It’s [Jakarta] growing very fast and has transportation problems,” Owens said on the sidelines of the International Transport Forum Summit 2014 on Thursday.

When asked whether Jakartans would enjoy their services by the end this year or next year, Owens replied: “I do not know the exact timeline, but we would like it to be sooner than later.”

Uber will offer its premium services, Uber Black, seeking to start working with drivers of premium sedans, such as Toyota Camry, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Nissan Teana.

“But we are also working on low-cost options; on how we can get local drivers of cheaper vehicles,” he said.

Uber operates in over 100 cities around the world, including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Bangkok.

For Indonesia, Uber will also add competition to the country’s limo services, which so far have been dominated by Limousine Express, the premium taxi service of listed taxi company Express Transindo Utama, and Blue Bird’s Silver Bird.

Bambang Susantono, deputy transport minister, said the government supports any technology-and community-based innovations in the field of transportation.

“We realize that in the future, transport will be driven massively by big data technology that will help ease traffic by encouraging a more efficient use of roads and vehicles,” Bambang said.

“However, if the service required payments and somebody took monetary gain from it, then it would have to comply with our regulations.”

He added that safety and liability are the country’s top criteria in issuing licenses to public transport service providers.

Uber is no stranger to red tape, having faced regulators from around the world in its efforts to line up the company’s service with established safety standards, while also facing pressure from established taxi providers, whose businesses are under threat from the newcomer’s presence.

“I don’t blame them for being confused. This discussion has been about whether we’re a taxi service or not,” Owens said.

“Instead, we should having a discussion of what is good for customers and what is better for customers.”

The Jakarta Globe was invited to the 2014 summit by the International Transport Forum.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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