Premier endorses Sarawak’s ART vehicle design set to arrive in mid-2024

Abang Johari (left) admiring the design of Sarawak's ART vehicle in a post shared by Sarawak Metro on Feb 20, 2024. Also seen are Uggah (second left) and Dr Rundi (right).

KUCHING, Feb 20: Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has given his endorsement to the livery and interior design of Sarawak’s hydrogen-powered autonomous rapid transit (ART) vehicle.

In a social media post today, Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd expressed its excitement to unveil the new design and colours chosen for the ART vehicles, slated to arrive in Kuching in the second half of this year.

Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Minister of Transport Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin, Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, and Sarawak Metro chief executive officer Ts Mazli Mustaffa were present at the event which saw Abang Johari signing several large posters.

In September last year, Abang Johari revealed that the Sarawak government would acquire 38 units of the ART to run on the initial three lines of the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) network that would connect Samarahan to Kuching.

To enhance Sarawak’s public transport system with a focus on environmental sustainability, the Sarawak government has committed RM900 million under Sarawak Budget to implement the ART prototype vehicle proof-of-concept (POC) exercise and showcase the vehicle’s capabilities to the public this year.

The ART prototype vehicle navigating a bend at the BCCK roundabout on its groundbreaking engineering run.

Meanwhile, Sarawak’s public transport system has come a long way, evolving from conventional green buses operated by Sarawak Transport Company and blue busses by Chin Lian Loong to the state-of-art green mobility represented by the ART system today.

The ART prototype has covered over 5,500 kilometres, including during Stage 1 of the POC exercise in China, engineering run along The Isthmus from Sept 6 to Oct 31, 2023 and POC exercise along the Samarahan expressway from Nov 20 to Dec 15, 2023.

The construction of Rembus Depot, located in Kota Samarahan and covering an area of about 54 acres, is also underway.

The depot will house a stabling yard, hydrogen refuelling facilities, test track, mechanical workshop, infrastructure workshop, an administration building and operation control centre.

Construction works for Rembus Depot located in Kota Samarahan on 54 acres of land underway. Photo credit: Sarawak Metro

It is scheduled to begin operation in the fourth quarter of 2025, coinciding with the opening of Stage 1 of the ART passenger service for the Blue Line.

The KUTS project is being developed in phases with Phase 1 consisting of the Blue Line, the Red Line and the Green Line.

The Blue Line will be from Rembus in Kota Samarahan to Hikmah Exchange in the city centre; the Red Line, from Kuching Sentral to Pending; and the Green Line, from Pending to Damai.

Covering a total distance of 70 kilometres, Phase 1 of the KUTS project is scheduled to begin passenger service in stages, starting from the fourth quarter of 2025 and is expected to be completed by end of 2027. — DayakDaily