Lee satisfied with resumption of hydrogen bus trials

Lee (left) with Buckland (second from left) speaking to one of the passengers on the hydrogen bus.

KUCHING: The trial operation of the hydrogen bus service has resumed here, and Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin is satisfied, urging the public to take advantage of the free bus service.

According to Lee in a statement on Friday (Sept 4),

the trial period was also important to the bus manufacturer and the state government as it was meant to gather data in preparation for the future of public transportation in Sarawak, including the proposed hydrogen-powered feeder buses for the Automated Rapid Transit (ART) system.

“The bus is in perfect condition and it is similar to when the vehicle first arrived before the implementation of the movement control order (MCO),” he said during his test ride on the ‘Downtown Heritage Loop’ route on Thursday (Sept 3).

He commended Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd, the wholly-owned subsidiary of SEDC, for managing the trial.

Meanwhile, resumption of service is conducted in accordance with the government’s standard operating procedure guidelines.

The interior of the bus is regularly sanitised at the end of every trip during the trial period, currently held on weekdays starting from 8am to 6.30pm daily.

Presently, passengers can take the Downtown Heritage Loop that departs from the bus stop in front of Riverside Majestic Hotel.

The daily departure times are 8am, 10am, 2pm and 5pm daily. Trial operation will not be held during weekends.

In another development, a series of discussions were held between Sarawak Metro and the bus manufacturer, Foshan Feichi Automobile Manufacture Co Ltd (Feichi) which is based in China.

It resulted in the deployment of local technicians to perform the necessary scheduled maintenance work on the buses, in accordance with the required specifications while ensuring the warranty for the vehicles will remain intact.

During the MCO period and due to travel restrictions, Feichi agreed to assist local technicians through virtual training sessions and also to perform the maintenance through online platforms.

This was part of the proactive efforts to make sure the buses are back on the road to resume the trials, despite the challenges faced due to the extension of the RMCO until Dec 31, which restricts travel and border crossings.

The vehicles have also gone through all the necessary inspections and received the mandatory approvals from the relevant government agencies, such as Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board and Road Transport Department, as well as Puspakom to ensure reliability and roadworthiness.

Among those who also went for the test ride included the Permanent Secretary to the Transport Ministry Sarawak, Buckland Bangik, senior management staff of Sarawak Metro and Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC).