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Bali's Transport Operators Under Strain

Illegal Transport Operators and Fewer Tourists Threatening Existence of Bali Transport Companies.

(1/29/2004) The Chairman of the Bali Land Transport Organization (Organda Bali) told the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia that the income of the Island's ground transport operators has dropped by more than 40% over the past year.

Organda's Chairman, Mr. Eddy Dharma Putra, pointed to the lack of business as the underlying cause for a "tariff war" now taking place among ground transportation operators in Bali. "If this situation is not corrected soon our tourism image will be damaged," he warned at a recent meeting of his organization in Bali.

Citing one example of the negative impact of the current transport situation, Mr. Dharma Putra pointed to the practice of "buying and selling" tourists within the Taiwanese market. Because of the depressed market, transport operators offer very low rates for transfers and tours to the mass Taiwanese operators and then avoid tourist objects, compelling their passengers to visit shopping areas that pay the transport operators exorbitant commissions.

Illegal Operators

He also warned that the situation facing tourism transport companies was made even worse by the large number of illegal, unlicensed transport operators vying for business. Officially, according to Mr. Dharma Putra, there are 239 transport companies operating some 4,444 licensed vehicles in Bali while he estimates that the number of unlicensed operators represent a number twice that large.

Calls for a Transport Crackdown

As a first step to solving the current chaos in the transportation market, he called on the Government of Bali and the Bali Tourism Transport Association (PAWIBA) to join forces and conduct sweeping raids against unlicensed transport operators carrying tourists on Bali's highways.