Sarawak Metro seeks vendors for ART vehicle

Mazli says the KUTS project will be implemented in phases.

KUCHING: Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd (Sarawak Metro) is now inviting rolling stock suppliers to register as vendors, as part of their initiative to source for the best provider for the Automated Rapid Transit (ART) vehicle for the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) project.

Mazli Mustaffa

“This is a standard procedure in the procurement process to source for as many vendors as possible and as such the invitation is open to any rolling stock suppliers that can meet the requirements of the KUTS project,” Sarawak Metro chief executive officer Mazli Mustaffa told New Sarawak Tribune today.

“The closing date for the vendor registration is July 1 this year, and information on the vendor registration exercise is available on our website,”

He said the ART, which will be operated for the KUTS project, would be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and run on rubber tyres on dedicated lanes.

In terms of technical requirements, Sarawak Metro is sourcing for rolling stock that has the following aspects:designed with low floor chassis (stepless for both entrance and exit); designed with on-board hydrogen fuel cell system as the primary power for the vehicle;    

designed to be a trackless system, with the vehicle guided via optical guidance system or equivalent; designed for bi-directional operation; designed to have sufficient hydrogen storage capacity for single refuelling per day; designed to have a minimum passenger capacity at crush load (AW4) 300 passengers per set; designed with safety standards adopting the latest international automotive and railway standards; designed for a service life of a minimum 25 years and preferably up to 30 years and last but not least, designed with a minimum operation mode of Grade of Automation (GoA) 2 and with potential to upgrade to a higher GoA level as specified by the standard IEC 62290.

Sarawak Metro, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), is entrusted to develop KUTS, a modern and sustainable public transportation system which aims to alleviate traffic congestion in the Greater Kuching area.

1. The proposed transit map for the ART which is subject to final alignment design changes.

At the core of the KUTS project is the ART, a hybrid vehicle which is a cross between a tram, bus, and train. Running on dedicated lanes and powered by hydrogen fuel cells, ART will be the first such vehicle of its kind in the world.

Providing more information on the KUTS project, Mazli said it would be implemented in phases.

“Phase 1 will involve the construction of two lines; Line 1 is from Rembus in Kota Samarahan to the Hikmah Exchange in the city, while Line 2 is from 12th Mile to the Isthmus.

“Line 1, which is also referred to as the Blue Line, will cover a distance of about 27km and Line 2, Red Line, will cover a distance of about 23km.”

He said the two lines would intersect at the Simpang Tiga area, where a proposed interchange station would be built.

“Construction work on the lines is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2022 while the Proof of Concept (PoC) run for the ART is scheduled to commence in the fourth quarter of 2023.”

He added that during the PoC exercise, Sarawak Metro planned to run the ART on a test route without any passengers.

Mazli said Sarawak Metro had scheduled to start the revenue service or the passenger service for the ART in the fourth quarter of 2025, starting with the Samarahan Line – running from the Rembus area to Stutong.

“The revenue service for the Serian Line is slated for the fourth quarter of 2026, running from 12th Mile Kuching-Serian Road to the Simpang Tiga area.

“The Samarahan Line is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2026, while the Serian Line is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2027.”

He said the fleet size for Phase 1 of the KUTS project would depend on several factors, such as the ability of the vendor to meet their requirements for the ART vehicles.

He added that the size of the fleet would also be determined by the ability of the vehicles to achieve the operational and design headway, which relates to the frequency of trips for the ART and the waiting time for the next vehicle’s arrival at the station.

“Currently, our scheme design consultant is assisting us in this area and as such will also assist us in determining the fleet size of our ART.”