Indonesia’s 1st e-bike sharing service Migo stuck in traffic law debate
JAKARTA, NNA – Indonesia’s first electric scooter ride-sharing app service, Migo, is locked in a legal logjam with the government as traffic regulators are trying to figure out what laws to apply to the popular, new mode of transportation.
The local police department is threatening to bar Migo’s e-bike vehicles from busy public roads out of safety concerns as they are often spotted on highways along with licensed vehicles.
Indonesia has no clear regulations on electric bikes that can go fast, and are classified as neither bicycles nor motorcycles.
PT. Migo, owned by Chinese entrepreneurs, launched the app-based e-bike sharing service in the country in December. Migo quickly became a hit among students, commuters and shoppers in the capital where e-bike riders can cut through the heavy traffic.
Thanks to its reasonable pricing and convenience, Migo’s service draws 1,500 to 2,000 users daily, Sukamdani, operational manager of the company, told NNA.
Migo has 22,000 registered users in Jakarta.
Migo charges 3,000 rupiah (21 cents) per half hour for its e-bike sharing, which is much lower than the 8,000 rupiah per ride charged by the ride-hailing services Go-Jek and Grab.
But the absence of traffic laws governing e-bikes in the country is hampering Migo from expanding outside the capital as it does not wish to get stuck in a similar safety debate elsewhere.
Migo’s e-bikes carry no license plate but they have been allowed on public roads as their classification falls into a gray zone.
Pitra Setiawan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation, said that the central government has no regulations on e-bikes but that it must find a way to categorize them.
Last month Migo discussed the issue with the ministry and the local police department but there was no agreement, according to Migo.
Initially, Migo argued that its fleet should be considered bicycles but it is now waiting for the regulators to come up with a new set of rules for e-bikes.
The government has told Migo it may draft bike regulations by the middle of 2019, Sukamdani said.
The company is now focused on keeping the existing 200 e-bike stations within the capital, suspending its plan to expand to 500 nationwide this year, he said.
Migo requires app users to be 17 years or older, wear a helmet and ride in a slow or bicycle lane.
The company does not allow users to share the rented bikes, but in reality, underage teenagers are often seen riding Migo e-bikes rented by a parent or sibling. The electric-motored scooters can accelerate up to 60 kilometers per hour.
Migo first entered the Indonesian market by offering a bicycle sharing app service in Surabaya, East Java Province, in 2017. It didn’t encounter any traffic regulation issues then.