Will Bali's much-awaited Trans-Sarbagita mass transit bus system ever be launched? Originally promised for 2009, but delayed and rescheduled for February 2011, the buses intended to help reduce traffic congestion in Bali are still not running while a number of once-attractive bus-stops remain empty, home to the handiwork of graffiti artists.
Sarbagita is an acronym comprised of the locations to be served by the long-awaited bus system: Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar and Tabanan.
Transportation authorities are re-promising that the 15 bus armada will commence operations in June 2011 while legislators from the Denpasar House of Representatives (DPRD-Denpasar) are expressing their skepticism that the many shortcomings of the new transit system can be sorted out in time for the June launch. As reported by DenPost, legislators are questioning if the memorandum of understanding covering the Sarbagita operations has been sorted out addressing service schedules , revenue sharing and the responsibilities of the various parties involved in the operation of the mass transit system. Other legislators are concerned that the small number of buses in the armada will mean outlying areas will be under-serviced with transport concentrated on Denpasar.
Meanwhile, other lawmakers are concerned that the poor placement of bus stops may add to Bali's already severe traffic congestion and are also asking if traders with large amounts of merchandise will be allowed to board the air-conditioned buses and exactly how long the buses would wait at each stop.
In response to these questions, the head of the transportation department for the City of Denpasar, Gede Astika, assured the lawmakers that a MOU is in place and that current plans are for the buses to wait at each halt for 15 minutes.
When the system commences in June, two routes will be initially served traveling between Batubulan, Sanur, Dewa Ruci Monument and Kuta Central Parking and a second route traveling between Kuta Central Parking, Dewa Ruci Monument, Jimbaran, and Nusa Dua.
15 buses will be deployed for the initial operational launch.
The tariff for the new system and rules governing use of the public vehicles remain to be announced.
Officials are hopeful that the new bus system will help reduce private vehicle usage in the areas served by the bus fleet.
[Missing the Bus]
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