Sarawak’s ART prototype to undergo 2-week assembly ahead of engineering run at Isthmus area

Engineers and representatives of Sarawak Metro pose for a group photograph in front of the recently arrived ART prototype.

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KUCHING, Aug 5: The assembly work for the three-car hydrogen-powered Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) prototype vehicle, which has just arrived in Senari Port Terminal here today, will take two weeks to complete prior to an engineering run at Isthmus area starting Sept 1.

Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain said the assembly work, including the fitting of the gangway, will be carried out by the technical crew from CRRC Zhuzhou Institute Co Ltd together with engineers and technicians from Sarawak Metro.

The work will be undertaken at a warehouse at the Senari Port Terminal.

“This engineering run is important for us to refine the specifications of the ART and also to identify any potential issues before we start with the Proof-of-Concept (POC) exercise.

“The POC exercise will be held in November, along a section of the Kuching Samarahan Expressway stretching three kilometres built between two roundabouts that have been converted into smart traffic light junctions,” he said in a press statement after witnessing the historic arrival of the ART vehicle at the Senari Port today.

The POC exercise is for Sarawak Metro to collect data to evaluate the feasibility of the prototype for the final design of the vehicle.

This 3km stretch will be part of the permanent dedicated lane built for the ART Blue Line alignment.

During both the engineering run and the POC exercise, the prototype ART hydrogen vehicle would not be open to the public for rides.

However, selected stakeholders will be invited to experience a ride on the ART, as part of the data collection efforts.

“During the engineering run and the POC exercise, the ART will mostly not carry any passengers. Rides on this prototype ART will only be held at certain times, and this is by invitation only and for selected stakeholders,” explained Abdul Aziz.

Abdul Aziz (fifth left) posing for a group photo as the first car of the ART prototype vehicle is lowered from the vessel at Senari Port Terminal on Aug 5, 2023.

The arrival of this ART prototype vehicle signified that Sarawak is a step closer towards realising the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) project developed to modernise public transport.

The hydrogen-powered ART arrived at Senari Terminal on board the vessel HF Spirit and berthed at around 8am, after a journey of more than two weeks. The vessel set sail from Shanghai Port on July 15.

Abdul Aziz, who is also Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman, described this historic moment as another milestone for Sarawak Metro, especially the State government in its efforts to transform Sarawak into an advanced economy by 2030.

“A modern public transport system is vital for the Sarawak’s development.

“I’m confident that once the ART starts its operation in two years’ time, Kuching’s socio- economic landscape will be significantly transformed as envisioned by the Sarawak’s top leaders. This project will definitely be a game changer for the State’s economic landscape,” enthused Abdul Aziz.

Meanwhile, passenger service for the ART will commence in stages – starting in the fourth quarter of 2025, with the Blue Line that runs from Rembus in Kota Samarahan to Hikmah Exchange in the centre of Kuching city.

Apart from the Blue Line, two other lines will be built under Phase 1 of the KUTS project; the Red Line (from Kuching Sentral to Pending) and the Green Line (from Pending to Damai Central).

Phase 1 of the KUTS project is schedule to be completed by 2027.

To complement the ART service will be the feeder bus network that will provide the first mile and last mile connectivity for KUTS.

Both the ART vehicles and the feeder buses for the KUTS Project are zero-emission vehicles powered by hydrogen. The move is to support the government’s efforts to advance the hydrogen economy as well as the initiative to decarbonise the public transportation sector. — DayakDaily