A local village leadership committee has imposed an independent toll road fee through their village. Village leaders have created a tariff for drivers passing through Nagi Traditional Village in Petulu, which sits just north of the center of Ubud.
The toll has been in place since the end of September but has caught the attention of locals, and long-term international residents in the area after a video of the ticketing exchange went viral on local news sites. The Head of the Village, I Nyoman Sudana, confirmed to reporters that the toll is in place for vehicles heading to only certain locations. He explained that the roads in question were not built by the government but rather funded locally by private investors (village taxes), so anyone who wishes to use the road must invest in its maintenance.
Sudana said, ‘The road that we use for tickets is a self-help road belonging to a traditional village with a certificate number 417’. According to him, Nagi Traditional Village funded, built, and maintained the road and is entitled to decide who can and cannot use the road for free. He said, ‘the names of investors who are allowed to pass are written on the gate. Investors, drivers, and suppliers with villa destinations that do not cooperate with the Nagi Traditional Village, we charge a one-time ticket’.
In terms of cost, many have suggested that the rate is quite steep. Toll rates vary for each type of vehicle. IDR 5,000 for motorbikes, IDR 20,000 for cars, IDR 50,000 for small trucks, and IDR 100,000 for six-wheel trucks and buses. That is USD 0.33, 1.30, 3,26, and 6.52 respectively.
The road in question leads to villas that are regularly booked by tourists and visited by tourism suppliers. The traditional village leaders claim that some of the villas do not contribute to the maintenance of the road, nor did they contribute to building it in the first place.
Sudana said the land around the road had been planted with coconuts, bananas, and other produce that is sold to fund village and temple activities. He said that funds from the toll would be used to bolster the revenue generated by the produce grown in the surrounding community lands.
He said, ‘Those who have cooperated are allowed to pass. For those who haven’t, we charge a ticket. The names of investors are already listed on the gate’. Those who live in the village, villa owners, and their guests who have paid village taxes are permitted to use the road without charge.
Sudan told reporters, ‘If you don’t have any business going to a certain villa, just for walking, please don’t charge a ticket. The ticket is specifically imposed on vehicles to the villa that do not cooperate with traditional villages’. He explained that he had approached the relevant parties to pay their village taxes, but in his words, ‘no one responded. They said their operation would use another route. But the reality on the ground, most of them go that way [using the road]’.
According to a local reporter, the new toll system generates profit daily for the village, but leaders don’t necessarily see this as a win. The informal toll stop is guarded 24 hours a day. Sudana explained ‘Every day, nine people stand guard. 3 people in the morning, 3 people in the afternoon, 3 people at night. Economically, the Nagi Traditional Village has lost a lot. The nominal earned per day is around IDR 200,000 (USD 13.03)’.
Comments on the viral video gave mixed responses. Some people applauded the local leaders for taking matters into their own hands, while others suggested that the tariffs were too high. Many indicated that they would like to see a similar system in their own villages, with many people from the Kintamani districts suggesting that this system would be of benefit if implemented there too.
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