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Fixing the Sarbagita Bus System

Editorial: Three Improvements That Would Make the Trans Sarbagita Bus System User-Friendly


Bali News: Bali, Indonesia, Trans Sarbagita Bus System, Halts, Parking, Editorial
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(11/20/2016)

Since it began operations in August 2011, the Trans Sarbagita Bus System has failed to make the desired positive impact on the daily lives of the people of Bali or reduce the severe traffic congestion on the Island's roads.

Running at a deficit estimated at Rp. 18 billion a year, the Trans Sarbagita Bus System generates only Rp. 2.5 billion in ticket revenues. The system is estimated to carry 870,000 passengers in 2016 or some 2,500 passengers each day.

As a result, provincial legislators are urging a critical review of the Trans Sarbagita System to determine the system’s long-term viability and whether or not the province should continue to bear the cost of the large subsidies that allow the bus system to continue to operate.

But, in fact, the fundamental thinking on why Bali desperately needs a reliable mass transit system remains sound and very much a necessary part of Bali's public service infrastructure.

Instead of doing away completely with the Trans Sarbagita Bus System, we believe a number of basic adjustments in how the system operates will increase use of the mass transit system and it popularity with the public.

Improved Bus Halts

The bus halts constructed on roadsides across Bali where passengers embark and disembark the bus system fail to work on a number of levels.

Built on the side or roads instead of in dedicated bus bays, busses block traffic and are a major cause of the very traffic jams they were intended to eliminate whenever they make a stop. Squeezed onto the side of roads, the bus halts also block sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to step into busy roadways at considerable personal risk.

The halts that are also very narrow in their construction, make it virtually impossible for the disabled and elderly to navigate the halts and board a bus - one of the very subsectors of the public that the mass transit is meant to serve. Because of their limited size, the bus halts are woefully insufficient to provide shelter for anything but the small number of passengers waiting in the rain for the bus to come.

Clearly, a major rethink of the halts and their construction is in order.

Finally, the way the bus halts have been constructed requires passengers getting on and off the bus to gather the courage to daringly “jump the gap” between the halt and bus door. Again, this is both dangerous and less than helpful to the aged, children and disabled passengers

Satellite Parking

With an estimated 5,000 new motorbikes taking to Bali’s roadways each month, much of the Island’s traffic congestion is linked to motorcycle traffic carrying workers to and from their daily jobs.

We recommend that some thought should be given to building large parking lots for motorbikes adjacent to outlying bus stops located in residential areas of the island where hotel and company employees can store their bikes until they return at the end of the work day.

These parking satellites would, ideally, be provided at no charge and equipped with CCTV cameras for added security.

Social Network and Application Friendly

Modern mass transport systems around the world are increasingly “connected” to the social network as a means of maintaining close contact with the public they serve.

In Bali, the Social Network could also include the very affordable accessibility software provided by GPS systems that would let passengers monitor the movement of buses on the various bus routea operated by Trans Sarbagita, advising via hand phones exactly how long someone must wait for the next bus.

The reasoning behind Bali’s Trans Sarbagita Bus System is sound. What remains to be done is for the system’s management to raise it game and create a service more in keeping with modern mass transport practice and the needs of the people of Bali they seek to serve.

Related Article

Will the Bus Go Bust?


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