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Denpasar, Bali

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We Get Mail Readers Write In About Sarbagita Bus System, Smoking Bans, Survival of the Balinese Language and Traditional Markets

Bali News: Bali, Indonesia,, We Get Mail, Sarbagita, Bus, Smoking, Architecture, traditional markets, Traditional Markets
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Our [Editorial: Sarbagita Bus System Lacks a Vision] elicited a chorus of comments from readers about Bali’s new bus system, including reactions from those who have actually “ridden the bus.”

· Tom Dwyer wrote to say:

“Personally I think the intention of developing mass transit in Bali is commendable. But like so much that's done here not enough thought and planning has gone into it. Lessons could easily be taken from so many other places with successful mass transit schemes like Singapore or even Bangkok. However, one is left to wonder if, once again, the ugly head of corruption is playing its usual part here.”

“Bali needs mass transit. With carnage on the highways, the deterioration of roads, and the mass explosion of private vehicles it will not take very long for this small island to become hopelessly gridlocked, as some already suggest it is. I hope the Sarbagita Bus System will become vital to transit in Bali, and I hope more public transportation alternatives will begin to come to fruition as well. In this time of global warming, environmental degradation and mass slaughter on Bali roads one might even conclude that it's a moral imperative for public transit to be the main means of transportation at some point in the future in Bali.”

“Personally I would like to advocate the greater use of bicycles as a means of transportation. So I hope that improving road safety and bicycle awareness among drivers will also be a part of the overall transportation plan in Bali. One can only hope!”

· Roger Kalhoefer in Bali said:

“It seems vision is not the only thing lacking for this bus “system”. With your story as a guide, who will be brave enough to board? Will it be out of business within 6 months? Who can fix it?”

· Marc Jacobs who works in the Island’s travel industry added:

“Are we being too harsh on Bali's new bus system?” That question can be answered by a ‘NO’, universally."

· Desley Keys shared her experience of riding on the Sarbagita Bus System:

“ 1) The buses are too big (high)!! Why not use buses the size of those that ply the Sanur/Ubud route? They travel packed with tourists heading in that direction. These new buses are like tourist buses with a compartment below the step for luggage??? As far as I can tell, there are no steps down to the ground which is why the bus stops are raised, many of the stops are unsightly and flimsy-looking pedestals.”

“ 2) For that matter, how do you get the luggage in the compartment if it is below the level of the bus stop itself? Passengers get on board and then the bus has to move away from the stop a few feet so the compartment can be opened?”

“3) The bus stop placement is ridiculous, some in the middle of nowhere. Why not have a bus stop in the Galleria Mall where you are guaranteed to find passengers? Or at the MacDonald's in Sanur? I can't imagine anyone walking to the stop (or waiting) out in the open in the elements come the rainy season.”

“I'm sure there must be a record of some sort of ‘study group’ from the House in JKT having gone overseas on a tour of various countries to assess their bus systems in order to be able to apply it to this country. Whoever was on that tour should be given a "F"! “

“It really is quite amazing to see how shoddy the planning and implementation for the system is. It would be interesting to know who is responsible for it.“

· Tami from Indonesia also share her Bali Bus experience:

“I used it the other day with members of my family of 5. We started from Hardy's in Nusa Dua and took the bus to the Matahari/DFS complex at Simpang Siur.”

“In Nusa Dua, our wait was only 7 minutes. The bus was clean, there were 9 other passengers. The driver was safe and the conductor was polite. Seats were comfortable and the AC worked very well.”

“On the return journey, the wait was 40 minutes - a bit too long. The bus was full when it stopped for us and there was 'standing room only' all the way to Nusa Dua – with over 40 people on the bus.”

“In fact, more than 10 people refused to board with us, as they could see they would be standing. They opted to wait for the next bus.”

“On the trip back to Nusa Dua the conductor stood at the front of the bus with the driver and made no attempt to collect our fares, until the bus stopped for us to step off. He was lazy and caused the bus to stop for longer than necessary, causing traffic to bank up behind.”

“We would use the system again. It appears more popular than the survey results I read.”

“A map/pamphlet needs to be produced showing all the stops. When we left DFS to find the bus, we had no idea where to find the closest bus stop”

“Keeping to schedule is probably the most important. If they cannot run on time, this will stop many people using the system as they will fear they will be 'late.’”

“Clarify the charge of Rp2500. Is this for children in school uniform (as some of the posters claim) or for children of school age?”

“We witness a charge of Rp3500 for a young boy about 8 years old - and presumed that possibly it was because he wasn't in a school uniform. That's ridiculous. Kids of school age (say 6 - 20) should pay the lesser price.”

“These buses are very visible on the main roads and therefore I would expect many road users (bikes and cars) will start to consider trying this transit system if it can gain a good reputation.”

· Charlotte writing from Indonesia had this to say:

“There is a complete lack of access to and from the bus station. How to reach the bus on the bypass? How to get from the bus from the bypass to my hotel - no taxi or any other transport service near a bus stop.”

· Kevin Stokes staying at the Jayakarta Residence Apartments offered the following:

“Boarding and exiting the Bus should be regarded as an EXRTEME SPORT. Having used the Bus 8 times, not once did the Driver pull up to the stop correctly, sometimes creating a gap of several meters between the bus and the bus halt leaving this over 60 year old disappointed.”

“The Bus Halt at the Galleria heading towards Kuta is the worst and the bus Driver blames the fact that a tree needs to be cut !?”

“After exiting one has to take their life in their hands attempting to cross the By Pass at the Monument to go to the Galeria Mall.”

“Management needs to go to Jogya or Solo or, even better, Jakarta for training.”

“I support the Buses but only for the Brave and Fit.”

[Tiang Sing Bisa Mebasa Bali!] our article on why the use of Balinese language may be endangered caused several readers to write in:

· Susanne Wagner a German married to a Balinese wrote:

“Bahasa Bali is a very precious language which reflects the Balinese culture. ALL parents should speak Bahasa Bali with their kids Bahasa Indonesia comes automatically anyhow. My husband speaks only Bahasa Bali with my daughter, although I don't understand it. I am proud that my daughter can speak Bahasa Bali! Many non-Hindus in Bali can speak Bahasa Bali, but are not brave enough to use it. Bahasa Bali should be spoken any day in all offices. The non=Hindu will quickly understand, I am sure. Except the foreigners like myself (sorry) won't understand.”

·Surya, a Balinese, took issue with the government officials’ analysis on the use of Balinese language in daily life:

“Do not judge we are not using Balinese language by knowing parents are not called ‘meme bape.’ I am using Balinese language in my daily routine.”

[Holy Smoke!] revealing that a recent survey showed 93% of the people in Bali support a smoking ban in public places in Bali earned some spirited responses:

· Lela said:

“Truly this is not what any country would want for their children, a DEATH sentence. Emphysema! Throat cancer, tongue cancer, lung cancer! REALLY? Educate the youth in your schools on the dangers of smoking! At the very least painful emphysema! A 2007 survey determined 24.9% of ten-year-old children smoked, a number that has increased to 31% among 10-year-olds in Bali by 2010. Children are your future, care for them."

· Kevin Bell took umbrage with the survey mentioned in the article:

“A survey conducted by the provincial government of Bali shows 93% of Bali's residents support the implementation and enforcement of non-smoking areas?”

“I wonder where they too k the survey, a girls primary school? Talk about being out of touch with reality!”

· Bruce Wyder added:

“I think it is wonderful that Bali is considering a smoking ban in Public places and religious areas. As a reformed smoker (5 packs a day), I am very aware of how my health has improved in the 15 years I have been smoke-free.”

[Saving Bali’s Traditional Markets]  - an article discussing a moratorium on new supermarkets and conveniences stores brought in the following letters:

· Marcel wrote to say:

“Apparently the consumer market in Bali has developed in such a way that customers now prefer the convenience store above a local "toko.” These stores are cleaner, well lit, have trained staff, a good variety of products, parking areas, price tags on their products and give receipts after payment. No wonder people are walking by the dirty, smelly, ‘tokos’ where the mice ran away when you enter. Governor, focus your perspective and don't be fooled by the complaints of no-tax-paying-shop-holders whose customers are lured away by the convenience store. It's just the understandable choice of the customer."

· Diana Darling, a well known local author said:

“One way to save traditional markets is not to tear them down and move them outside the village, as Ubud is planning to do, in order make room for YET MORE TOURISTS.”

[The Marginalization of Paradise] in which Balinese artist Nyoman Gunarsa sees the lack of Balinese architectural elements as a symptom of the decline of the supremacy of Balinese culture also earned letters:

· Gia Holman wrote: 

“I firmly believe that preserving all the beautiful Balinese culture, especially the spiritual heart of temples, is very important to this island and the Hindu religion.”

“I do, however, believe that it is inevitable that architecture is going to change. A classic example is the Oasis in Sanur. This spectacular design has now been bastardized by the inclusion of ‘Alang Alang’ and roof ornaments, which completely ruin the aesthetic of the building. No doubt that was done to comply with the IMB. There must be a compromise between new and traditional. Where that compromise begins and ends is the question. It is not enough for it to be tacked on at the end to comply. Maybe someone can establish an info centre to help people comply with traditional whilst having the scope to create their own dream home. All money donated for this service could go to help preserving the traditional buildings and building methods of this lovely island.


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