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Governor Says Bali's on the Right Track

Governor Pastika Defends Plan for Bali-Wide Railway System.

(2/5/2011) Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika views plans to build a slow rail system to circumnavigate the island as much more than a solution to alleviate traffic congestion, but also as an important asset for the island's tourism in its own right.

Speaking to Kompas.com, Pastika shared his vision on how the rail system would follow Bali's shore line offering a memorable travel experience for passengers. Speaking to the press in Jakarta, the governor explained: "For instance, from Denpasar to Gilamanuk, there will be sea views to the left and mountains to the right. The vistas will be extraordinary."

He added that he was certain that tourism packers by rail in Bali would be very saleable. One day tours of Bali for sale by travel agents in Bali would be created once the trains is in operation. "The train will stop at selected points where there are local tourism sites and attractions," added the governor.

Addressing the land needed to create the round-Bali rail system, Pastika said the present roadway easements could be used, removing the requirement to undertake the costly and time-consuming acquisition of additional land for the rail system. "The aspect of land acquisition is not significant," he said.

Governor Pastika also told the press that the proposed rail system was receiving widespread public support form the Balinese who saw it as a means to solve traffic jams and achieve a more equitable distribution of tourism to all parts of the island. He said this was particularly the case in north Bali which to date has not been able to join in the intense tourism development to the south.

Plans put forth by the government call for an inter-modular system that will connect Bali's airport, sea ports, buss stations and tourism objects. The entire system will have tracks covering 565 kilometers circling the entire island and is scheduled to commence operations in 2015.

The governor's comments were made at a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) covering the new rail system held in Jakarta in late January. Signatories to the MOU for the Bali train system included representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Transportation, the Province of Bali and the Indonesian Rail Company (PT Kereta Api Indonesia).

Now that the MOU is in hand, a working team is being established among the signatories on how best to move head with a rail system for Bali.