‘Bajaj’ cabbies stage protest

PHEW! A woman trying to shield her face from the exhaust fumes of a 'bajaj' taxi in Jakarta on Wednesday. -- APpic

JAKARTA: Thousands of bajaj operators parked their noisome, noxious vehicles outside Jakarta City Hall yesterday to protest government efforts to ban the three-wheeled taxis from the streets of the capital. 

Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso will next month start issuing new operating licences to a locally-assembled kancil, a small, four-wheel taxi, in an effort to gradually rid the metropolis of the decades-old, Indian-made bajaj that have served as a cheap form of transport for the public since 1970. 

The bajaj, using a two-stroke engine, is deemed a major contributor to air and noise pollution in Jakarta. 

For Jakarta's 14,000 licensed bajaj drivers, however, efforts to ban them from the streets are seen as a threat to their livelihoods. 

“Don't Kill Us, Sutiyoso,” said placards waved by the bajaj drivers outside city hall. – dpa  

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