Ferry Service Bali and Lombok is Under-Capacitated
Freight Trucks are Waiting Up to Three Days to Take the Four-Hour Crossing from Padang Bai to Lembar, Lombok.
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Bisnis Indonesia says the ferry docks and terminals at Padang Bai (Bali) and Lembar (Lombok) need extensive upgrading in order to avoid long lines at both ends of the Bali-Lombok ferry connection.
Bambang Harjo S., Chairman of the Association of Ferry Operators (Gapasdap) considers the Padang Bai-Lembar ferry crossing as very busy and with the potential for strong future growth. The poor condition of the cross-straits ferry fleet and of port facilities on this route are blamed for the frequent delays and long lines often encountered by passengers traveling by ferry between the two islands.
Peak periods for travel are over the weekend period of Friday-Sunday and over holiday periods such as Lebaran.
A visit to the Padang Bai Ferry terminal on the afternoon of September 6, 2008, by Bisnis Indonesia revealed hundreds of freight trucks destined for Lombok and Sumbawa waiting at the port. One day before the line of waiting vehicles stretched more than one kilometer, a situation that saw the waiting line grow to 3 kilometers the following weekend.
The poor state of ferry service is causing a great hardship on inter-island truckers with operators complaining that trucks can wait as long as three days before being allowed to boar a cross-straits ferry.
Sources at the Padang Bai port blamed the delays on the large number of ferries laid up for repairs and the poor state of the terminal itself. At present, there are 18 ferries assigned to the Padang Bai-Lembar route.
During the Lebaran holidays falling on the first days of October 2008 transportation officials are predicting a 20% increase over the very high number of passengers and vehicles that traveled between Bali and Lombok during the same holidays in 2007. Those making a crossing during these periods should anticipate long delays.
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