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Why the Hound Turned Grey

Waiting Forever at the Bus Stop: Will 15 New Buses Be Delivered for Bali's Long-Delayed Sarbagita Bus System in July 2011?

(7/17/2011) When it comes to Bali’s long-promised Sarbagita Mass Transit System, the Island has received more excuses to date than it has buses from the Central Government in Jakarta. Once promised to start operations in 2009, the system remains still in the status of a promise in July 2011.

Apparently, the Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) is not amused and are threatening to summon the Bali representatives from the Department of Transportation and officials of the Badung Regency and Denpasar government to account for these endless delays.

According to NusaBali, Bali political leaders are fuming over the elusive bus system – now two years behind schedule – with that the installation of bumpers and the painting of the buses given as reasons as to why the Bali bus system remains long on promises but short on passengers.

Commission III members of the DPRD-Bali are promising to call officials involved in the project to determine the real cause of the delays. Gusti Ngurah Suryanta Putra, Secretary of Commission III from the House said: “We will invite (them) for a discussion on the preparations for the actual handover of the buses can take place in a timely manner. Those to be called include the chief of Transportation Services for the regency of Badung and Denpasar. We’ll invite them for a chat.”

Beyond the problem of late delivery, how exactly the Sarbagita Bus System will be managed and the rules for its use have yet to be decided.

Originally promised to be introduced into service in 2009, the Sarbagita Bus System was the subject of numerous delaying announcements, the latest promise of a handover on July 12, 2011, having come and gone. It also remains unclear if Bali will receive “new” busses manufactured in 2009 which, from an accounting standpoint, means the busses will have depreciated by at least 50% in value before they begin traveling Bali’s roads.

There is, however, growing optimism the new buses are actually on the way with invitations now being distributed for a handover ceremony scheduled for July 20, 2011.

While it would probably be imprudent to line up quite yet for a ride at one of the many bus stops installed across the island, the Sarbagita Bus System is promising to someday operate 15 buses at a fares of Rp. 3,500 (US$0.40) for adults and Rp. 2,500 (US$0.29) for students.

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