Transforming Sarawak’s public transport system

The hydrogen buses which are currently doing the trial operation service around Kuching city.

THE ART system is essentially the core of the KUTS project. The system was chosen over LRT, which was initially announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to transform the public transportation in Sarawak, due to the cost effectiveness of the system.

The ART vehicle which is a hybrid cross between bus, train and tram, runs on dedicated lane and not on steel track like LRT and this significantly reduces the construction cost and time.

Unlike LRT, ART uses rubber tyres and can run on normal road surfaces.

Phase One of the system will involve the construction of two lines (Red and Blue Lines) and covering a total distance of about 50km.

Sarawak Metro team made a courtesy call on the Mayor of Kuching South City Hall Dato Wee Hong Seng.

Most sections of the two lines will be at road level with some sections elevated especially in highly dense area in the city centre. The ART vehicle will be equipped with optical sensors and intelligent navigation to enhance manoeuvrability and accuracy as well as a reliable communication system.

Mazli (right) presenting a memento to Datuk Bandar of Kuching North City Hall Datu Haji Junaidi Reduan.

The ART vehicle will be powered by hydrogen fuel cell, in tandem with the state government’s aspiration to develop the hydrogen economy and realising the agenda in becoming an important producer of green hydrogen for the region.

The choice for using hydrogen as ART fuel cell is also in support of the State government’s move in decarbonising the public transport system in Sarawak.

Once the ART system is in operation, commuters in Sarawak, especially in the Greater Kuching area, will be the first in the world to use a trackless rapid transit system powered by hydrogen fuel cells. For KUTS, the ART system will have a three-car set rolling stock with maximum capacity of 300 passengers.

The normal service operating speed for ART is 35km/h and it can increase to a maximum designed speed of 70km/h.

Chronology and timeline

Feb 2018 — Incorporation of Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarawak Economic Development Corporation
Jun 2018 — Feasibility
study for KUTS project completed
May 2019 — Sarawak Government revisit the KUTS project
Sept 2019 — Sarawak Metro began operation
July 2020 — Environmental, Social and Heritage Impact Assessment for KUTS project began
2022 — KUTS civil and structure works to begin
2025 — KUTS project to begin operations

Mazli (6th right) led the team from Sarawak Metro to engage with members of the Association of Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Socio Economic Enhancement Development Programme

The Socio-Economic Enhancement Development (SEED) Programme is similar to the Offset/ Industrial Collaboration Programme implemented for major Federal government-funded projects in Peninsular Malaysia.

This programme consists of activities that add value to the procurement made by the government and maximising the benefits from the procurement under the KUTS project.

The SEED programme will focus more on Sarawak’s needs in terms of economic, technological and industrial development, in line with Sarawak’s aspiration to become a developed state by 2030.

The programme will help establish the pool of skilled workers for the transportation industry, and create a platform for knowledge and expertise transfer, especially on emerging markets and technologies.