The Sarawak government has announced that it will commence its new electric city bus service tomorrow in its capital, Kuching. The service is also the first ever to debut in Malaysia and will also be free of charge for the public.
State tourism, arts and culture minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, during the launch earlier today, said that the adoption of the service is in line with the Sarawak government’s policy to focus on sustainable development. The use of rechargeable batteries on these electric buses will help reduce carbon footprint and air pollution, he added.
Prior to this, the state initially trialed the service with a single bus back in late February 2019 for a span of three months. The trial covered 26 stops in Kuching, on a route between the Old Court House in the city center and ICOM Square in Pending.
This time around, a total of four electric buses will start operating in Kuching tomorrow. Each of these are equipped with an automated announcement system, real-time broadcast content control system, wheelchair facility, priority seating, six CCTV cameras, folding bike storage area, and free onboard Wi-Fi. In addition, members of the public may also download and utilise the Kuching Metro application on their Android or iOS devices in order to monitor the location and estimated time of arrival for the busses in real-time.
According to Abdul Karim, the buses will cover routes with 107 stops between the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex in Petra Jaya and the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre in Siburan. Each of the shuttles has an estimated interval time of two hours, and will operate starting from 6am to 4pm daily.
Besides the free electric city bus service, Kuching is also expected to begin a trial run of a new Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) system in late 2023, with operations targeted to commence by 2025. Meanwhile, Johor Bahru is also set to begin testing its own ART system during the first quarter of this year, as previously reported.
(Source: Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak press release)