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Bali to Have a Local Rail System by 2014?

Government Projects US$2 billion Bali Rail System

(6/27/2011) Bisnis.com reports that the government is targeting the for a 600 kilometer rail system to be in operation in Bali by 2014 at a total project cost of Rp. 18 trillion (US$2 billion).

The proposed rail system will circle Bali, connecting major tourism sites on the island.

The Director General of railways from the Ministry of Transportation, Tundjung Inderawan, projects building a rail network in Bali will be made easy by the geographical layout of the island, unlike Sumatra and Kalimantan which are more mountainous.

Tundjung says the estimated cost of RP. 30 billion (US$3.4 million) per kilometer for the projected costs does not include the cost of locomotives, stations and electrification

He sees the rail system as providing a valuable form of transportation for both local residents and tourists. He said tourists would be able to purchase a single ticket valid for five days of rail passage across the island. “Tourists will be able to stop at one station and stay for several nights while enjoying local tourist objects and then depart again without buying another ticket,” explained Tundjung.

Tundjung said the Bali rail system is the result of an agreement achieved between the Director General for the Development of Destinations from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Firmansyah Rahim, Bali’s governor Made Mangku Pastika and the CEO of PT Kereta Api Indonesia (PTKAI) Ignatius Jonan. He said that in order to realize the project, the government will open opportunities for private investor participation in order to supplement the limited government funds available.

“There is now a legal basis (from the company), moreover, this has been established via a memorandum of understanding signed between the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, the provincial government of Bali and PT Kereta Api Indonesia as the initiator of the project,” explained Tunjung. As the project’s initiator, PTK KAI is charged with undertaking feasibility studies and making a business plan for coordination with the related agencies.

Supporters of the project tout that the Bali rain network will reduce pollution, enhance transportation safety for travelers and more equitably spread the benefits of tourism to the more remote areas of Bali.