The Indonesian government has reversed a controversial ban on app-based ridesharing that it instituted last week.
The ban was put in place by the Ministry of Transport, citing impact on public transport and the lack of compliance with vehicle requirements.
“Services like Uber, in which they demand payment using a private car is not legal under current law,” said Djoko Sasono, director general of land transportation at the Transport Ministry.
The blow was particularly harsh for local ridesharing platforms, including Go-Jek, which claims tens of thousands of motorbike riders who ferry customers in several major cities. The day before the ban Google had announced that Go-jek was the most searched term in Indonesia in 2015.
Go-Jek has been valued at $100 million, and several of its drivers had previously been invited to lunch at the presidential palace with president Joko Widodo.
“Don’t let the people be burdened because of regulations,” tweeted Widodo following the ban. Widodo also tweeted that regulations “need to be managed” and he would “immediately” summon the Minister of Transport for talks.
“Dear lovely GO-JEK users, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo just answered our prayers by cancelling the Transportation Minister’s circular regarding the prohibition of app-based gojek and online taxi services,” said Go-Jek’s founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim.