The Blue of the Birds

The Blue of the Birds
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Indonesia’s Blue Bird taxis invited to operate in Malaysia in 2014

by Farah Saad

Indonesian taxi operator Blue Bird Group has been invited by the Malaysian government to set up its operations here, as part of plans to broaden the public transport network. Details have not yet been confirmed as talks are in the early stages, but Malaysia will fit into the company’s plans to expand beyond Indonesia in 2014. Blue Bird vice president for business development Noni Purnomo told The Malaysian Reserve in an email: “We have been talking with various authorities from the Malaysian government as well as private companies. We were invited by the Malaysian government to support the public transport in Kuala Lumpur.” The company is Indonesia’s largest taxi operator in terms of fleet size, and according to a report in The Jakarta Post, it is also eyeing the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei and the United Arab Emirates.

The expansion would be in the form of collaborations with local companies, said the report. The government of the Philippines had also extended an invitation to Blue Bird to study the taxi market in the country, said Purnomo. The planned expansion would not be easy, she said, as markets had to be studied along with their cultures. For the past several months, local taxi operators in Batam, Indonesia, have protested the recent issuance of Blue Bird’s operating licence in the city, according to a separate report in The Jakarta Post last Thursday. Batam has 12 operators and 2,500 taxis. The protest led to Blue Bird’s licence being revoked in July. An appeal led to a reversal and the licence was re-issued in October. Last Thursday taxi drivers in Batam smashed the window of a Blue Bird taxi and injured its driver, leading to the arrest of five drivers, as Blue Bird officially began operations in the city. The arrest led to a protest involving hundreds of Batam taxi drivers, who claimed Blue Bird’s operations would ruin their business

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