Last night, a real traffic collapse occurred on the road from I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport. Starting from December 23, traffic on the road to the Balinese airport began to noticeably increase. According to local authorities, they failed to react in time.
Samsi Gunarta, the head of Bali's transportation service, stated that his team was late in addressing the potential traffic jam issue on the airport access road, assuring that the situation with early anticipation would improve in the future.
The circumstances somewhat resemble the beginning of the winter season in some northern countries. "It never snows in winter, and here it is again." After all, the number of tourists arriving on the island for the holidays was predicted in advance.
"Yesterday, we were a little late with preventing traffic jams, so the road to the airport quickly became congested. Today, we will try to improve the situation," said Samsi. "I tried to anticipate and regulate this situation and found that on December 23, the traffic became higher than before, but there were no significant jams. However, last night, obviously, the movement within Bali was quite dense, so a jam formed. This happened earlier than we predicted," he said.
Yesterday evening, on the road from I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, a real traffic collapse occurred, reaching even the toll road leading to Bukit and spreading onto it. Passengers, after standing for an hour in an almost stationary cluster of cars, were forced to exit taxis and vehicles, proceeding on foot towards their hotels or the airport. A massive traffic jam stretched in both directions. The first signs of serious problems began to appear around 13:00 but became most pronounced in the evening.
Handi Heriadiawan, the CEO of I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, reported that conditions were created to allow the passage of motorbikes to assist passenger movement. Tourists could reach the drop-off or departure area. Online ride-hailing services were called, and motorbikes were provided for transporting luggage.
"We are preparing carts at the transport entrance to help passengers carry luggage, and we provide two units of baggage carts for the mobilization of elderly passengers, passengers with children, and those with a lot of luggage," he said.
Due to many passengers hopelessly being late for their flights, the airport management had to adjust the departure times of flights. "So far, we continue to ensure that operations and services proceed normally, intensively coordinating our actions with airlines and assisting passengers," said Director Handi Heriadiawan. He also urged passengers to head to the airport earlier to avoid missing their flights.
For a rough estimate, Google Maps data can be used. It will show the time it currently takes to travel from your location to the airport, taking traffic into account.
Currently, I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport continues to operate, handling a total of 213 domestic and 157 international departures per day. At the moment, leaders of various departments are trying to resolve the situation, but there are no high hopes for a significant improvement. Apparently, traffic jams on the roads will persist in some form until the end of the New Year holidays. Authorities are calling for reduced travel in heavily congested areas.
"Starting this morning, Bali's transportation agency has begun more intensive monitoring and is working on traffic management schemes as a short-term solution," said Samsi Gunarta, the head of Bali's transportation service. "We anticipate that, as usual on New Year's in the airport and other busy places, there will be traffic jams. The airport is overloaded with traffic coming in and going out, but last night was a bit unusual," he said.
Meanwhile, speaking of long-term solutions, the head of Bali's transportation agency agrees that there is no other choice but to develop public transportation.