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Can Electric Buses Help Revolutionize Transport For Tourists In Bali?

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Tourist transportation is one of the most highly debated topics by Bali lovers.

Whether a returning tourist to the island, a long-stay digital nomad, or a fully committed expat, the issue of traffic and transportation is something that gets everyone interested. 

Traffic Jam in Bali.jpg

Over the last few months, officials in Bali have announced a series of huge projects that will, over time, help tackle the incessant traffic congestion on the island. This includes the development of an underground metro railway, a tramline, and huge investments in road infrastructure around the Bukit Peninsula. 

A new tourist shuttle service is already on trial in the arts and cultural capital of Ubud. The 6-month trial service sees five electric and five hybrid shuttle vehicles driving around the center of Ubud offering pick-up and drop-off at 21 strategic locations for tourists in the area. 

On Wednesday 16th October the Bali Provincial Government hosted the Joint Signing Kick-Off Meeting for the Feasibility Studies Project for Electrical Vehicle-BRT and Electrical Vehicle Charging Points in Bali Province. 

The study will focus on establishing where and how electric public transport can be best deployed across Bali for residents and tourists. The primary aim is to tackle rampant traffic congestion across the island and explore a transition to electric vehicles across the board.

The negative impacts of near-constant traffic congestion are huge. Not only do the pollution levels pose a threat to public health, but it also has a direct impact on people’s livelihoods and the local economy. 

The Head of the Bali Province Transportation Service IGW Samsi Gunarta, said that there is not enough public interest in the development of more public transportation on the island, though many would disagree.

Amongst conversations online and on the street, it is clear that the public art interested in public transport and that the lack of engagement with existing options is not a sign that there is no demand, but rather that communication about the services and the connectivity is not aligned with the needs of the public. He noted that in any case transition from private to public transport as standard is never a quick process. 

@dr.szanyibarbara 🛵 Traffic Jam in Bali #trafficjam#realbali#crazy#motorcycles#indonesia#bali#nusadua ♬ Funny – Gold-Tiger

He acknowledged that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that public transport is affordable and accessible. Gunarta said that any future plans to implement island-wide electric bus services would be carefully considered. 

Gunarta said services would “ensure connectivity so that, even though you need to walk, you don’t have to walk too much.”

“This means that it is enough for us to be given the opportunity to walk comfortably so that later, the provision of infrastructure, including bus stops and pedestrian-oriented design, must be carried out together. 


“So we are not just talking about buses, but also including the ecosystem and other components.”

He added, “Our community is also increasing every year. So, like it or not, we have to transform towards public transport. It’s not like or dislike. But it seems there will be no other choice but that.”

The rollout of electric bus services around Bali may take years to come to fruition since the feasibility study is only just going ahead.

What is clear is that locals and tourists alike want and need to see impactful changes implemented as soon as possible. 


This week, more videos have been shared online of gridlock on the Canggu Shortcut.

Although some mitigations have been put in place in the popular resort town, it’s simply not making sufficient difference.

Some of the shortcut routes through Canggu are now only accessible by motorcycle, but many cars still chance their way through. 

Traffic-prone areas include Canggu, Seminyak, Ubud, and the western side of the Bukit Peninsula. Naturally, around rush hour, traffic builds up in the city of Denpasar and especially along the Ngurah-Rai Bypass.


These issues are affecting the tourist experience of the island, and it is clear in the comments online that if seismic action is not taken soon, Bali lovers will start looking for new places to go on vacation where traffic is much less of an issue.

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M.J. Ryan

Thursday 26th of October 2023

Congestion is caused by local tourism.

Restrict the roads to vehicles registered in Bali and commercial vehicles with an exemption permit. Problem solved


Friday 27th of October 2023

@M.J. Ryan, It would have minimal effect. The overwhelming number of vehicles (ex trucks and buses) are Balinese registered. Besides, legally not possible.


Tuesday 24th of October 2023

This is not going to work. Bali need fewer tourists. Maybe only 2.5 million a year as 1. roads in the south are overloaded, 2. trash in the south management is overloaded, 3. fresh water is depleting, 4. electricity grid on the limit 5. beaches overdeveloped with clubs/buildings and beaches are eroding fast 6. etc


Friday 27th of October 2023

@Exp, Repatriating Javanese or other RI workers will not avert the things I listed.


Thursday 26th of October 2023

@Shorty, 2.5 million arrivals refer to year 2010 just as explosion in overdevelopment took place. They need to "repatriate" a lot of the workforce imported from Java and other places. No other way.


Wednesday 25th of October 2023

@Exp, So how do do propose handling the resultant unemployment, small business closures and revenue loss?


Wednesday 25th of October 2023

@Exp, 2. trash management in the south is overloaded,

Esther Williams

Monday 23rd of October 2023

NO. Until the cheap crooks who pretend to be leaders here fix the existing roads it doesn't matter what fuel you use in any vehicle.


Monday 23rd of October 2023

Please repair the he existing roads.


Monday 23rd of October 2023

I am not against any of these ideas at all, they all have their legitimacy. But imho opinion the main problem is the road "flow"/infrastructure, ie. there needs to be more connections between Umalas & Berawa, Berawa & Canggu as well as Canggu & Pererenan. At the moment if you want to cross from Berawa to Canggu, you HAVE TO go through Raya Canggu.

As long as cars all have to go through the well-known bottlenecks such as Batu Belig and even more so Raya Canggu (incl. the "infamous" corner on Raya Canggu in Berawa), not much will change. Quite a few more shortcuts, some of them also for cars, would spread out the traffic which is what's really needed (at least in Canggu).