When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

One of Indonesia's thousands of Blue Bird taxis
One of Indonesia's thousands of Blue Bird taxis

JAKARTA — Amid violent anti-Uber protests by taxi drivers in the Indonesian capital, the country's largest taxi company is trying to defeat its app-based American competitor with an innovative approach: uberize itself. Leading Indonesian magazine Tempo reports that the Blue Bird taxi company is seeking to shift its business model to a car-sharing service, competing directly on the terrain of Uber and other local digital upstarts.

Founded in 1965, Blue Bird has more than 32,500 vehicles in its nationwide fleet. Thousands of taxi drivers from Blue Bird and rival taxi services took to the streets last week to protest against Uber, shutting down the Jakarta's main thoroughfares, adding to the capital's infamous traffic jams.

But unlike other legacy taxi companies, Blue Bird management has been swift in reacting to the new kind of competition, becoming one of the first taxi companies in the world to launch its own smartphone app in 2011, which allowed users to order rides immediately or by appointment.

The app since migrated to Android and Apple iOS, but the company wants to go further: building in cashless payment and GPS-based ride sharing to compete against Uber and Grab, a popular Malaysia-based taxi app.

For now, however, Blue Bird is up against government regulations that require cab companies to operate using a meter, whereas sharing apps charge prices based on real-time demand and supply. Taxi companies must also pay expensive business license fees and other assorted taxes.

But if Blue Bird gets its way, it could be a model for taxi companies around the world looking to move into the fast lane of the digital revolution.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

In Africa, Witchcraft Delusions Spark Deadly Mob Violence

In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where many people believe in witchcraft, allegations occasionally flare into violence and death.

Ogwang Ongoda prays for his mother, Albina Okoi, by her grave in Oyamdistrict. A mob accusing her of practicing witchcraft attacked and killed Okoi.

Patricia Lindrio

OYAM, UGANDA — On the morning of March 4, at the invitation of her grandchildren, Albina Okoi attended services at a makeshift church different from the one she usually attends. When the prayers continued for longer than she expected, Okoi, 71, excused herself and went home to have tea.

By the time it was ready, there was a mob at her doorstep, led by the pastor and two of her own grandchildren.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ