How about offering free bus rides in Kuching City centre, suggests Chinese leader

KUCHING, Nov 27: A local leader here has welcomed the Stage Bus Services Transformation (SBST) that will see 130 new buses plying 27 routes here in one year’s time.

Chinese community leader Datuk Richard Wee said it’s timely to look into improving the public bus system as the roads here are getting too congested with too many cars.

“Our current system is very bad. Without a proper public transportation system, people would have no choice but to buy cars and the congestion problem will only get worse,” he told DayakDaily.

He said the improvement of the stage bus is in line with Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg’s mission and the state could learn from neighboring countries like Singapore and Australia which has very good public bus systems.

Wee, who is also Federation of Chinese Associations in Kuching, Samarahan, and Serian Divisions president, also mooted free bus services in the city centre.

“The government should look into it, maybe (free bus service) in the city centre,” he said.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the federal government and Konsortium BBK Sdn Bhd (KBBK), the SBST network operator recently.

The SBST will ply 27 routes (15 trunk routes and 12 feeder routes) in areas under the jurisdiction of Kuching South City Council (MBKS), Kuching North City Hall (DBKU), Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) and Kota Samarahan Municipal Council, which will cost about RM241 million for five years.

The bus operators participating in the SBST are City Public Link Bus Services Sdn Bhd, Sarawak Transport Company Berhad, Bau Transport Company Sdn Bhd, Petra Jaya Transport (Sarawak) and Biaramas Express Sdn Bhd.

Kuching is among five cities in the country selected to have this SBST and it is expected to be operational within a year.

The buses would be OKU-friendly and equipped with an electronic ticketing system (ETM), global positioning system (GPS) and closed-circuit television (CCTV).

Deputy Chief Minister and Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing had said that the state government would consider providing free public bus services in the future, but that will be subject to further feasibility studies as it involves high capital and operational cost.

Masing had also said that SBST routes and stations would be planned to complement the route of the planned Light Rail Transit (LRT) in order to ensure seamless connectivity for commuters. — DayakDaily