Initial studies suggest Serian, Samarahan ART routes in the offing

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg checking out the interior of the articulated electrical vehicle. - File pic.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Nov 7: Preliminary studies by the Sarawak government on the proposed Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) could indicate two routes in the planning – the Samarahan Line and the Serian Line.

The Samarahan Line will be from Taman Desa Ilmu to Hikmah Exchange, while the Serian Line is from 12th Mile of the Serian-Kuching Road to the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

This was disclosed by Assistant Transport Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting, while answering to the questions brought up by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How today.

“The state government is implementing smart public transportation system, a component of Smart Mobility, which acts as an enabler to drive the growth and development of Greater Kuching. For this purpose, various modes of smart public transportation are being considered for implementation including ART for Greater
Kuching.

“Based on a preliminary study, the routes for the proposed ART are Samarahan Line from Taman Desa Ilmu to Hikmah Exchange and Serian Line from 12th Mile to BCCK, The Isthmus.”

Dr Jerip said the routes were selected based on the objective to address traffic congestion in Greater Kuching and to make suburban development viable through Transit Oriented Development (TOD).

However, he said, the system solution, estimated cost and implementation schedule for the ART project could only be determined once a detailed study was carried out.

“The detailed study is also critical to ensure an integrated, safe, reliable, affordable and eco-friendly public transportation system for Greater Kuching,” said Dr Jerip.

Meanwhile, on See’s supplementary questions of whether an ordinance would be introduced to regulate ART, how the ART would be fuelled as well as the safety issue of the charging station, Dr Jerip said both the ART and hydrogen fuel cell technology was still in the research and development (R&D) stage.

“Therefore (to consider) the possibility of ordinance will have to be included in this study.  As (it is) still under study, it is premature to say that an ordinance can be tabled in this house soon as it can only be done when all studies has been done carefully,” said Dr Jerip.

On the issue of whether electricity or hydrogen fuel cells would be used, Dr Jerip said it would depend on the R&D.

“A very intense R&D is being done by SEB (Sarawak Energy Bhd), and the fuel station has been done. Stringent SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) and safety standards are being carried out as to how hydrogen fuel cell can be utilised later on.

“However, we have yet to decide whether it is going to be hydrogen fuel cell-driven or electricity-driven yet.  In any case, if using hydrogen fuel cell, there is zero emission from ART as it emits only water vapour, which is harmless to environment,” said Dr Jerip. — DayakDaily