We Can’t Take This, Complain Tourists of Bali’s Gridlock
A senior hospitality leader has said Bali’s chronic traffic issues could destroy the island’s tourism industry if urgent and comprehensive action is not taken soon.
Speaking to the media, the chairman of the Bali branch of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA), Bagus Sudibya, said thousands of foreign visitors had lodged complaints about the gridlock affecting the crowded streets of resort areas in the island’s south.
“The island’s traffic has been so bad and uncontrollable that congestion occurs almost hourly on the main streets,” he said, adding that even access to Ngurah Rai Airport was difficult because of congestion.
Sudibya said that the transportation issues risked scaring off visitors.
“Bali will soon lose its charm as an international tourist destination unless we can deal with the poor traffic conditions. International tourists might easily turn to other destinations in neighbouring countries,” he said.
Vehicle ownership has surged in Bali in recent years at the same time as tourist arrivals have increased. Limited road improvement measures, meanwhile, have not kept pace with increasing traffic.
“The number of vehicles — cars and motorcycles — keeps increasing, while the length of roads remain the same,” said Made Santha, head of the Bali traffic agency.
In recent years vehicle ownership in Bali has risen at a rate of over 12 percent a year, while road infrastructure has only been extended at a rate of 2.28 percent.
Santha said that as incomes increased local people turned away from public transport, despite the fact that increased vehicle use slowed journey times.
“People drive their own vehicles and motorcycles instead of using public transportation. This condition has escalated traffic problems,” he said.
Wayan Suarna from Bali’s Udayana University, meanwhile, said that the poor standards of existing public transport exacerbated the problem.
“We do not have adequate or effective public transportation. People need to go to work and school,” he said, adding that as well as the threat to tourism, the huge increases in vehicle use have an environmental impact.
“An increasing number of vehicles will certainly produce higher emissions,” Suarna said.Filed under: Headlines