Leaders in Bali have suggested that the groundbreaking for the new Bali Railway Network could start by the end of this month. The Bail Railway Network will eventually comprise of six railway lines and one tram line connecting tourists and residents to all major tourism and business destinations on the island.

The Bali Railway Network has been on the cards for years. Much like conversations around the North Bali Airport, many Bali lovers feel they may never see the day the project gets underway.

Although the central government has officially scrapped the North Bali Airport, the Bali Railway Network is an idea leaders are keen to keep running with. In fact, they want to see the first construction teams on the ground by the end of the month.

Speaking to reporters at the opening of the Tibubeneng-Canggu Shortcut, the Regent of Badung Nyoman Giri Prasta suggested that leaders and the public support all efforts to combat Bali’s tourist traffic.

He explained, “The Badung Regency team and the Central Government team will come from Korea regarding the MRT.”

“We have asked for the construction of the MRT; we must consider Bali 1,000 years later, starting from this year, [we must create] a large-scale underground transportation system.”

It is undoubtedly clear that this kind of forward-thinking is essential when creating new transport systems in Bali.

Many Bali lovers feel that a lack of foresight and strategic land planning has caused these traffic issues in the first place. The metro lines that will become part of the Bali Railway Network are based on the metro system already in place in Jakarta.

Even if ground is broken in the first quarter of this year, leaders have not outlined how long it would take before passengers could be riding the trains. The first metro line is set to connect I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport with central Denpasar, Sanur, and Seminyak.

Once up and running, this metro line will help remove hundreds of vehicles from the roads and make it easier and quicker for tourists to travel between the island’s leading resorts and the airport.

The reason why the airport meters line must be built first is clear. Travel chaos hit Bali’s roads over the New Year’s weekend, especially those leading to the airport. Videos emerged online of tourists abandoning their taxis and private transfers to run along the hard shoulder with their luggage in tow to try and make their flights.

In light of the Christmas and New Year travel saga, leaders like Regent Prasta want to see progress on major transportation projects as soon as possible. Officials from Bali Airport have also committed to changing things up so that traffic flow is manageable.

The Head of the National Police Traffic Corps, Inspector General Pol Aan Suhanan, revealed that top transport leaders in Bali are discussing the scope of constructing a new toll road lane connecting Bali’s southern coastal resorts to Bali Airport or dedicating an existing lane on the Mandara Toll Road to airport traffic only.

This would have helped alleviate congestion over the Christmas and New Year weekend. However, on an average day, this may not make too much of a difference since congestion and bottlenecked traffic are concentrated at the entrances/exits of big resorts like Canggu, Seminyak, and Uluwatu, not so much so around the airport.

Regent Prasta told reporters, “Hopefully, there can be groundbreaking [for the MRT] this January so that traffic jams on the Island of the Gods can be resolved to start from Badung Regency so that all districts have adequate transportation facilities.”

With just two weeks left of the month, it remains to be seen if the regency, provincial, and central government can secure agreements with private investors to get the Bail Railway Network project off the ground once and for all. Regardless, Bali lovers are in agreement that in 2024, big changes must be made.

The new Tibubeneng-Canggu Shortcut has been open for a week, and although it has helped reduce some traffic congestion in the area, it has not been a silver bullet.

The Head of the Badung Transportation Service, AA Ngurah Rai Yuda Darma, has confirmed that the new road has not reduced rush hour congestion in the Canggu area.

He said, “During rush hours when traffic volume increases, queues or delays still exist from the east from Denpasar to the west. But the queues are increasing.”