Crowded streets: Vehicles in Kuching projected to increase 41.5 per cent by 2030

Lee (seated centre) and Jerip (seated left) with officers from the ministry in a press conference.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Nov 11: The Ministry of Transport Sarawak (MOTS) is taking a multi-pronged approach to manage traffic flows and congestion in the city as the growing number of vehicles in Kuching places greater demands on public infrastructure.

This includes implementing the Integrated Smart Traffic Light System for Kuching City by installing digital countdown traffic light systems to ease traffic congestion.

Its minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said Kuching’s population and vehicle registration growth at three per cent and eight per cent respectively per annum has increased traffic congestion in the city with some junctions experiencing longer waiting times.

Based on the ‘Urban Traffic in Kuching 2010-2030’ study, the number of vehicles in Kuching is estimated to reach 449,200 by 2030 from 317,400 in 2015, an increase of 41.5 per cent.

“With better income, more people, especially in Kuching city, can afford to own private vehicles. The same project will be replicated in other major towns as well,” said Lee in his winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly today.

The ministry is planning to develop and provide a safe, efficient, reliable, affordable and eco-friendly Public Transportation Service Delivery System through digital technology application.

“The state capital city and other major towns have experienced robust growth and major physical transformations especially through a massive injection of both private and public expenditures. While rapid growth brings huge benefits to the people especially in terms of creating employment and business opportunities, it also creates other issues including heavy traffic congestion and others such as rural-urban migration, urban poor and lack of affordable housing.

“All these factors have been taken into consideration in the setting up of MOTS on August 22 to focus on urban transportation and urban traffic management. We will work together with Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), Public Works (JKR) Sarawak and other relevant agencies to execute and complete existing programmes and projects related to the improvement of the public transportation system in the state,” he added.

The Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) is also one of the transportation modes being considered for implementation and carefully studied to address traffic congestion in Kuching city.

As Kuching is one of five cities selected for the implementation of Stage Bus Services Transformation (SBST), MOTS is also working with Konsortium Bas Bandaraya Kuching Sdn Bhd to implement bus services under the SBST Programme.

Meanwhile, Assistant Transport Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil urged Sarawakians to change their mindset about public transport.

“While we improve Sarawak’s public transport and its system, Sarawakians must also change their mindset by utilising them (public transport) to reduce road congestion,” he said later at a press conference with Lee. — DayakDaily