Have you ever enjoyed riding the shuttle bus from the Central Parking to Kuta? If you have not, it’s worth trying once. Formerly, prior to being launched, this mode of transportation was expected that Kuta and surrounding areas would not be crowded by private vehicles. Ideally, each visitor wishing to visit Kuta, park their vehicle in Central Parking and then continue the trip by shuttle bus. Indeed, the idea of mass transportation was originally intended to avoid Kuta from being filled with large buses that often kindle congestion. Meanwhile, the road body used for parking space by vehicles and motorcycles also faced similar destiny. Is this effective?
Destiny of the shuttle bus is not as good as ever before. Since this mini shuttle was operated in 1997 in Kuta, local and foreign tourists made it the most favorite alternative. Aside from offering cheap fare, this vehicle is also very unique because it is colorfully designed with varied motifs. Not surprisingly, its existence was becoming the star as the most popular vehicle.
Unfortunately, the vehicle amounting to 35 units managed by the Komotra Cooperative lacks of passengers today. Actually, the main purpose of shuttle bus is to provide transport for tourists and reduce congestion on particular roads. Related to the problem, Chairman of the Kuta People’s Empowerment Agency (LPM), Graha Wicaksana, explained the shuttle bus served the congested routes in Kuta like Jalan Raya Kuta, Jalan Bakung Sari, road section to subdistrict office, Jalan Pantai Kuta, Jalan Melasti and Jalan Patih Jelantik. “So, the government’s aim to make the central park was to enable buses that transport tourist group stop at Central Parking. From there, tourists are then transported by shuttle bus to the each destination,” said Wicaksana recently.
Unfortunately, though there had been shuttle bus, only a few tourists used it. “I’ve got a lot of complaints from tourists about the performance of shuttle bus. Many foreign tourists complained that the shuttle bus did not come on time. Others claimed they were dropped at roadside so that they had to walk to their destination. Another complaint was that some of the guests had not been picked up again after the transfer. Even, some people saw if the shuttle bus took passengers surpassing the capacity,” he told.
Aside from these factors, Wicaksana added, most tourists immediately hired vehicles such as motorcycle and car. “Tourists coming through travel agency usually have got services including car rental with tour guide. Thus, only a few tourists utilized shuttle bus,” he said.
Meanwhile, one of the shuttle bus drivers admitted that passenger was very scarce because there had been Blue Isuzu public transport serving tourists from Tegal directly to the heart of Kuta. “Tourists are now directly transferred to souvenir market on Jalan Sunset Road. From there, passengers are then escorted by Blue Isuzu to the beach and other hotels around Kuta,” said the man rejecting to mention his name.
“Now, we lack of passengers that directly affects our income. We’re frustrated because we do not get attention from the management of Komotra. It is further aggravated by the fuel price hike, while our fare remains at IDR 3,000 from long time ago. This condition makes us wait for passengers in Central Parking Kuta rather than roving where we uncertainly get passengers,” he explained.
How about the role of government? In this case, the Head of Badung Transportation Agency, Weda Darmaja, responded that lacking of passengers was not kindled by the presence of Blue Isuzu from Tegal. “Blue Isuzu is an intercity transport within province (AKDP) with a length of not more than 7 meters, so it should go into Kuta area because it does not violate the rules,” he explained.
“The government has banned the entry of bus to shuttle bus area, so we provide a solution by directing bus to stop in Central Parking Kuta and then passengers are transported by shuttle bus. Meanwhile, taxi and other four-wheeled vehicles are allowed to enter the areas like Jalan Pantai Kuta and other smaller roads because they do not violate the rules,” said Darmaja.
He said that Blue Isuzu was suspected by Komotra members to have worked with souvenir market. It was touted accidentally to drop off passengers at souvenir market so that they got a commission. After knowing this, explained Darmaja, his party reprimanded and gave a letter to the souvenir market. “Apparently, the souvenir market declared to have no individual cooperation with Blue Isuzu transport,” he explained.
Meanwhile, if the fare issue had caused the shuttle bus drivers to be reluctant to drive around for looking for passengers, it had been addressed and called for meeting. He said the process to raise the fare had just finished. It was raised from IDR 3,100 to IDR 4,000, so it had been increased as much as ID 900. However, the shuttle bus did not agree and wanted to raise it to IDR 4,500, it meant an increase of IDR 1,400. If the increase reached IDR 1,400 it was not fair and not in accordance with the regulations. “The decree for the rate increase from IDR 3,100 to IDR 4,000 has been issued and disseminated (Sep 25—Ed),” he explained.
Secretary of Komotra Asmara said his party frequently monitored to Central Parking but his party did not meet directly with the shuttle bus drivers. “The drivers are monitored by the coordinator of shuttle bus because it was in charge for that responsibility. I just need to control through the coordinator to inquire complaints. Should there be any complaint, it must have been followed up,” he said.
According to him, if the matter of over capacity had caused the shuttle to lack of passengers, it was not true. Sometimes, there were groups of students coming to vacation and most of them were often difficult to be organized. Related to rate increase, Asmara confirmed that he already received the decree but had not socialized yet because the field condition remained unstable. “Now, the field condition lacks of passengers, if the fare is increased it can trigger an image that shuttle bus is expensive,” he said.
“I think the condition at Central Parking will be lonely if tourist buses always drop off passengers at sunset road, exactly in the souvenir market, where to next route would be transported by Blue Isuzu. It is not a terminal but why is there regular activity of taking and dropping off passengers between buses and Blue Isuzu? The regent of Badung had called for the tourist in order they stopped at the terminal (central parking). But, why are there still tourist buses stopping on Jalan Sunset Road, not in central parking?” he asked. (BTN/Ocha)