As part of the protest, they pedaled their pedicabs together from downtown Bandung to the Bandung council building. Emotions ran high and pedicab drivers were soon locked in a quarrel with security personnel blocking the council building. The drivers once tried to unsuccessfully break through the cordon of security personnel.
Mae Ara, a pedicab driver, said they had faced hardships since a bylaw that banned pedicab operations was issued a month ago. The bylaw prohibits the pedicab drivers from operating in 15 spots in the city, including several streets near the center of the city.
After the bylaw was issued, Bandung Public Order officials have enforced the bylaw and prevented the pedicab drivers from operating in the designated areas.
As a result, the pedicab drivers lost a good portion of their income as most of the prohibited streets were lucrative areas, said Mae, who has been a pedicab driver for the past 20 years.
The bylaw rules that no one is allowed to ride or drive a pedicab in designated areas in the city and if they violate the bylaw they shall pay a fine of Rp 250,000 (US$25). If they violate the bylaw for a second time, they will be sentenced to a maximum of three years in jail or pay a maximum fine of Rp 50 million. "The bylaw has not taken the side of the people," said another pedicab driver Ade Sulaiman.
In the protest, the pedicab drivers gave speeches, mainly condemning the bylaw and demanded its revocation.
Separately, councillor Ade Koesjanto said the bylaw was final and could not be revoked. It had been agreed to by the Bandung mayor and councillors, he said.
The bylaw was issued after growing demands from the public to ban pedicabs from operating in several streets in the city as they were considered the culprits behind traffic jams in Bandung. "The pedicab drivers are undisciplined," said Koesjanto.
However, in view of the strong protests from the pedicab drivers, Koesjanto promised that he would open negotiations with the government in order to reduce the areas where the pedicab drivers were barred from operating.
Source: The Jakarta Post