Bali is set to have its very own light rail transit (LRT) system, providing a convenient transportation option for travelers from Ngurah Rai International Airport to the bustling tourist hub of Kuta. After years of planning, the LRT project has finally gained official approval from the central government and is expected to be completed by 2027.
The exciting development was announced by Bali Governor Wayan Koster, who revealed that the Ministry of Transportation and the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) have agreed to provide funding and support for the LRT project. The estimated cost of the ambitious endeavor is a staggering IDR10 trillion (approximately US$671 million). To ensure the project's success, the Bali provincial government has teamed up with the South Korean government, which will offer technical assistance and financial aid through a soft loan scheme.
According to officials, a thorough feasibility study conducted in 2021 has determined that the LRT route will cover a distance of 9.46 kilometers. Along this route, four strategically located stops will be established: the airport, Central Parkir Kuta, Discovery Mall, and Seminyak. To accommodate the unique landscape of Bali, the LRT will traverse a track that combines both underground and elevated sections, ensuring efficient and seamless travel for passengers.
The introduction of the LRT system is a vital component of Bali's long-term plan to develop an integrated public transportation system. By implementing this project, the local government aims to alleviate the island's heavy reliance on private vehicles and motorcycles, which have contributed to increased air pollution and road accidents.
Interestingly, the LRT project has evolved significantly since its inception. In 2020, initial plans were announced for a shorter 4.78-kilometer LRT line connecting Ngurah Rai Airport to a proposed satellite terminal in Kuta. At that time, officials estimated the project's cost at IDR5 trillion (around US$335 million) and anticipated it would be operational by 2022. However, as the project progressed, it expanded to cover a longer distance and gained broader support and funding, resulting in the current iteration of the LRT system.
The upcoming LRT system in Bali holds great promise for enhancing transportation infrastructure, providing efficient connectivity, and promoting sustainable travel practices on the island. Travelers and residents alike eagerly anticipate the completion of this transformative project, which is poised to shape the future of transportation in Bali.