Posted on Published: @August 27, 2023 6:32 PM (GMT+8)
Bali’s traffic congestion issues are hitting the headlines more often than many leaders would like.
Due to the high demand for travel on the island and the developing transportation infrastructure, heavy traffic congestion has become synonymous with the Island of the Gods as a tourism destination as sun, sea, and sand.
Now, leaders in the arts and cultural capital of Ubud have partnered with the Toyota Mobility Fund to trial a new scheme called Sustainable Mobility Advancing Real Transformation (SMART).
The collaboration between the Provincial Government of Bali, the Gianyar Regency Government, and the Toyota Mobility Fund will be on trial for the next six months and has the potential to revolutionize tourist access to the popular resort town.
Traffic congestion in Ubud has been getting progressively worse since the reopening of borders in February 2021.
Leaders and transportation agencies in Ubud have worked together to implement a series of new solutions to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road and establish free-flowing traffic at all times of the day.
This has included cracking down on illegal parking on Ubud’s narrow one-way streets and opening up more public parking areas within the town center.
More traffic officers have also been stationed around Ubud at key intersections to help direct traffic and ease queues.
Yet, there is more to be done. This new partnership could be a huge step forward for Ubud and, if successful, could be replicated across the island’s leading resorts in the near future.
The Toyota Mobility Foundation has invested USD 1.7 million in contributing new electric vehicles for the free tourist shuttle service in the center of Ubud, starting in September 2023.
The Toyota Mobility Foundation has donated five battery electric minivans and five hybrid electric minivans for the duration of the six-month trial.
The service will be available for tourists to use for free to access the most popular attractions in the town.
Speaking at the launch of the new partnership, Pras Ganesh, Executive Program Director of the Toyota Mobility Foundation, shared his vision for the project.
He shared, “TMF designed this project to fulfill three principles, namely sustainability, innovation, and partnership.”
He continued, “We are working to create a blueprint for a sustainable business model that will allow the people of Ubud to measure the impact achieved during this pilot.”
Adding, “We are very excited to launch this solution with all our partners who have the same goal, which is to promote the concept of mobility for all and carbon neutrality.”
Ganesh and the team behind the partnership confirmed that the ten vehicles will operate within the central Ubud area.
The shuttle route will stop at Ubud’s main attractions and most popular resort areas, with each stop being no more than a 10-minute walk from each of the major destinations in the area.
The final route map will be available come the launch in September as teams are finalizing the last details.
The launch event was hosted by the Deputy Governor of Bali, Cok Ace. Also in attendance was Nandi Julyanto, President Director of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia, who shared why the foundation chose Ubud as its first trial destination in Indonesia.
Similar partnerships are already thriving in Hyderabad in India, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and Bangkok in Thailand.
“TMF chose Ubud in Bali, Indonesia, as the ideal location for the implementation of this project due to its advantages as a leading tourist destination, as identified by the Government of Indonesia.”
Deputy Governor Cok Ace also shared how the tourist shuttle bus service will not only help reduce traffic congestion and improve the tourist experience but also help reduce emissions and air pollution in Ubud.
Late last week, air quality levels in Ubud reached dangerous lows, which came as a shock to many leaders, local residents, and tourists in the area.
While the air quality has now returned to a moderate level, climate specialists fear that this may be the start of more frequent low air quality days if solutions are not put in place to tackle emissions in Bali’s arts and culture capital.