June 06, 2016

Tourism Potential Encourages Public Bike Sharing System

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As a tourist destination, Bali has the potential to develop a public bicycle sharing system along its Trans Sarbagita public bus network. 

According to the Indonesian-chapter of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP Indonesia), plans to assist in improving the sustainability of the island’s transportation. “As an international tourist destination, Bali has great potential to develop a public bike sharing system. It is ridiculous if you keep on using cars for a trip of only a few hundred meters to the nearest beach or minimarket,” ITDP country director Yoga Adiwinarto told Bali Daily on Thursday.

ITDP Indonesia is a social profit organization affiliated with ITDP in Washington DC that promotes sustainable transportation worldwide. ITDP Indonesia is currently working on three major issues in Jakarta related to bus rapid transit (BRT), non-motorized transport and transport demand management.

In Jakarta, such a public bike sharing system is currently being initiated in the busy commercial hub of Jl. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin. The system, which is basically public bike rental, allows users to leave the bike at the nearest station and has been found beneficial to serve users in their first or last mile while heading to the nearest bus stop or other destinations. Successful implementation in cities in Europe and China has encouraged major cities in the US, like Washington DC, New York and Denver, to implement the system.

Yoga stated that a public bike sharing system could be applied in the busiest commercial and tourism areas in southern Bali, such as Kuta in Badung regency and Renon in Denpasar.

“Tourists can just leave the bike at an available bike station after they reach their destination. Thus, private vehicle use can be reduced by some degree,” he said.

Yoga said that currently ITDP Indonesia was preparing to approach the Bali administration to assist in improvement of the island’s transport. “This year, we are still collecting more data about the transport situation in Bali and we hope to meet Bali administration officials to further discuss possible solutions. We are also seeking international funding to realize this plan,” revealed Yoga.

Yoga highlighted that in order to successfully develop a public bus rapid transit system, the simultaneous improvement of supporting facilities, like pedestrian walkways, public bicycle sharing and the implementation of higher tariffs for on-street parking, were equally crucial.

“The implementation of higher tariffs for on-street parking is an effective way to help reduce traffic density. Vehicles parked on the street must be charged on an hourly basis, with a higher tariff than off-street parking,” said Yoga, adding that in the future, parking fees should through parking meters instead of collected by parking attendants.

The Transportation Division head at Badung Transportation Agency, Made Widiana, said the administration had recently established a unit for traffic and road transportation to solve the worsening traffic congestion in Kuta and other areas in southern Badung.

However, Widiana said on-street parking tariffs were stipulated by a regional regulation which was difficult to change.

“You need approval from the House of Representatives to change the parking tariff. The decision is usually very political, thus it’s difficult to change parking tariffs,” he said, stating that currently on-street parking cost Rp 1,000 (10 US cents) for motorcycles and Rp 2,000 for cars and had no time limit.

Widiana said that among the solutions still being discussed were plans to change traffic currents on some of the most congested roads, inviting the private sector to build a multi-story car park, and applying zoning for on-street parking. When asked whether the administration had ever considered any policy related to promoting the use of bicycles, Widiana said: “Bicycles would be an extraordinary policy. We have not thought about it yet.”

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