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Minister Proposes Sea Taxis To Combat Bali’s Tourism Traffic Issues

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Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, has suggested that Bali should establish a sea taxi network to help tackle the island’s tourism traffic congestion issues.

Minster Uno is calling for the Bali Provincial Government to spearhead this idea into reality. 

Boats drive around cliff edge beach in Bali.jpg

Speaking to reporters in the wake of the Christmas and New Year traffic chaos in Bali, Minister Uno said that sea taxis could provide a viable solution in the long and short term.

He suggested that sea taxis could operate between the island’s busiest coastal resorts, connecting popular tourist destinations in Badung Regency such as Canggu, Kuta, and Jimbaran to start with. 

@amiebolton5 This boat ride is not for the faint hearted🤒 anyone who’s experienced it with bad weather HOW are you alive😭 #nusapenida #bali #fastboatbali #solotravel #fyp #foryou #balitravel ♬ original sound – Amie Bolton

In a statement issued after attending a coordination meeting with the Bali provincial government and PT Angkasa Pura I at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Minster Uno said, “We proposed sea-based transportation so that from points Canggu, Jimbaran, Kuta, it could be connected like a sea taxi.”

He added, “We ask road users to be more patient, while later we will also provide rail-based infrastructure, rail-based transportation will give you a longer time to reach your destination.”

The idea to introduce sea taxis will certainly ruffle some feathers. Taxis in Bali are famously resistant to change.

When the SMART @Ubud electric shuttle bus service was introduced as part of a pilot scheme in 2023, taxi drivers complained that the mini bus shuttle could be stealing business.

Despite years of online taxi companies operating legally in Indonesia, many local taxi drivers are still on a mission to prevent them from operating in certain areas of the island.

While many would say that less congestion on the roads would mean better business for everyone.

There are many potential positives that could come from a sea taxi system. More local people would be employed as skippers, ticket counter staff, and behind the scenes in logistics.

The operation would, in theory, be managed by the provincial government and so the taxi fees would be standardized.

Many tourists would feel a sea taxi would be a more enjoyable way to hop from one beach resort to another than sitting in a car. 

However, there are some big potential cons too. Part of the charm of areas like Kuta and Canggu is that there aren’t so many boats out on the water.

This makes it a safe area for swimming and surfing. More boats operating in these areas would require much more consideration for public safety. Then there are conditions at sea.

Bali-Fast-Boat-Engines-Make-Waves-And-Spray-On-The-Sea

The route between Canggu-Kuta-Jimbaran is reasonably calm and safe most of the time, but having a taxi service so conditional to the elements brings its own risks too. 

Last year saw the launch of an independent sea taxi company GoBoat. The company provides taxi shuttle services between Canggu and Uluwatu.

Initially, this was hailed as a great idea to help cut the travel time between the two resorts to just under an hour.

However, safety concerns have been raised by travelers as conditions at sea around the Bukit Peninsula are famously treacherous during high tides, storms, and specific weather fronts; even local fishermen tend to steer clear of these areas. 

Uluwatu-Cliffs

What is evident is that if a sea taxi network was put in place by the provincial government as a temporary or even permanent solution, there are huge logistical and safety considerations to be made.

What’s more, the sea taxi service would only help alleviate a small amount of the tourist traffic congestion.

Hypothetically, even if all those tourists who were travailing between Canggu-Kuta-Jimbaran used the sea taxi service, there would still be traffic congestion in these areas because the road infrastructure cannot support tourism traffic and residential traffic altogether at this time. 

Sunsets-over-fishing-boat-on-Jimbaran-Beach-in-Bali

If all goes to plan, the provincial government will be breaking ground on the new Bali Railway Network this month.

The new train lines will eventually completely revolutionize the way tourists travel around the southern resorts and between the resort and the airport.

In the meantime, tourist must continue to plan their travels around peak traffic times and leave plenty of extra time to travel to the airport, whatever the hour, whatever the weather!

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Mango Carafino

Monday 15th of January 2024

The only one with the real solution is Bill Gates. He wants to depopulate the world population. Bali in the South will never be the same as it use to be. We came to Bali to get away from what was happening in out own countries. Now the newer generations have brought that Rubbish here. Traffic, high prices, over crowding, privileged mindset that Indonesian are second class citizens in their own country. With Western and Israeli crimes in Gaza and the entire Islam global community angry at Western hegemony. Another bomb in downtown Kuta will correct everything. Meaning no more tourist. I lived and seen it happen twice here in Bali.

Mango Carafino

Monday 15th of January 2024

The only one with the real solution is Bill Gates. He wants to depopulate the world population. Bali in the South will never be the same as it use to be. We came to Bali to get away from what was happening in out own countries. Now the newer generations have brought that shit here. Traffic, high prices, over crowding, privileged mindset that Indonesian are second class citizens in their own country. With Western and Israeli crimes in Gaza and the entire Islam global community pissed off at Western hegemony. Another bomb in downtown Kuta will correct everything. Meaning no more tourist. I lived and seen it happen twice here in Bali.

Nick Mahanets

Monday 15th of January 2024

Good grief! Sea taxis is the stupidest idea of many stupid ideas to alleviate Bali's traffic woes. Will passengers need to wade into the surf to board the boats, or will they build wharves at the beaches? Bali is controlled by clowns.

Jeff

Monday 15th of January 2024

There simply too many people here. Glad I saw it 30 years ago, but even then it was obvious they would never adapt sensibly to it all. One of God's most beautiful creations destroyed by human greed.

AG

Sunday 14th of January 2024

there should be a harbor at the DPS airport so people have the choice to take boat/sea route or land route (through the highway). that would make it more convenient for those who are heading to Canggu, Tanah Lot and other northern destination