The Head of Badung Transportation Service has announced a ban on all large vehicles, including buses, in the popular tourist hotspot of Kuta in Bali. On behalf of the Regent, only large vehicles with dispensation certificates will be able to drive through the area. As tourism has returned to Kuta since lockdown, so too has the issue of traffic.
Some have argued that Bali has become almost as synonymous with gridlock traffic as it has with being a holiday destination. Complaints and grumblings from residents and tourists have not fallen on deaf ears. Now officers are trying to devise new ways to reduce congestion.
Officials have identified that in the Kuta and Seminyak areas, it is large vehicles that are causing the majority of traffic problems. So, with this in mind, the Regency transportation department has issued a blanket ban on large vehicles, such as buses, from driving through certain areas. The roads in question include Jalan Raya Kuta, starting from the intersection of three traffic lights in Jalan Setia Budi towards Jalan Raya Kuta.
Large vehicles are also banned from driving along Jalan Patih Jelantik Kuta from the intersection of three traffic lights on Jalan Patih Jelantik towards Jalan Dewi Sri. Finally, buses and other large four-wheelers are prohibited from driving down Jalan Raya Tuban, starting from the intersection of Jalan Raya Tuban and Jalan Kediri in front of Supernova, down to the three traffic light intersection on Jalan Raya Tuban at Battalion 741.
The Head of Badung Transportation Service, I Wayan Daryana, confirmed the new road rules to reporters. He added, “The ban is also on Jalan Raya Seminyak starting from the intersection of four traffic lights on Jalan Raya Seminyak – Jalan Petitenget – Jalan Raya Kerobokan – Jalan Tangkuban Perahu (Kerobokan LP)”.
He explained that the new system is to help prevent total gridlock in the busy areas of the tourism hotspot. Tourist buses will be directed to park at the Kuta Central Parking Area rather than stopping for drop-offs along the streets they are now banned from driving down. Daryana said that tourists would then be directed to a taxi rank at the bus parking station for onward travel.
Daryana said that it was easy for drivers to know whether they could pass through the excluded areas of Kuta. He said, “The rule is in effect. So it’s not arbitrary for transportation to enter. Those that can enter are vehicles that are under seven meters long or weigh less than 5,000 kilograms”.
There are some exceptions to the new rules, and drivers of specialist vehicles or who require access can apply for a dispensation certificate. Daryana said, “So the dispensation letter will later be determined at what time the vehicle is allowed to pass, this is done with the consideration that it will not cause traffic jams.”
“Exemptions are also given to certain vehicles, such as the TNI [army], Police, firefighters, motorized vehicles for special service purposes, state guests, regular buses with fixed routes for public transportation”.
It seems that any and all efforts to relieve the issue of traffic in Bali’s busy areas would be gratefully received by many. For months senators, residents and tourists have been calling on the government to tackle the notoriously bad traffic in Canggu. Earlier this month, local farmers spoke out about the increase in drivers using farm-access-only pathways to try and avoid gridlock in Bali’s busiest seaside hotspot.
Moped drivers, primarily tourists, have been creating their own shortcuts as, ironically, the famous Canggu Shortcut is regularly more congested than the main roads that connect Canggu to the rest of the island. Residents are concerned that since the farm-only access pathways have not been designed to support traffic but rather a couple of mopeds a day, there may be an increase in accidents and collisions.
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