By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 1: The state government is highly looking at the possibility of adopting the autonomous rail transit (ART) system to solve the public transportation issue at the state capital.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state is still studying the feasibility of the technology.
On the positive side, the cost to develop trackless train or ART is only one-third of the light rail transit (LRT) system, he added.
“For Kuching city, we would ‘most likely’ adopt the technology. It is cheaper than normal LRT as there is no need to lay (rail) tracks,” he told reporters after officiating at the 31st Anniversary celebration of Kuching City Day, here, today.
Abang Johari explained that the hybrid vehicle, which is similar to a train with coaches and can carry up to 35 passengers, can run on normal road system with sensor and radar device installed to read the tracks.
“What we can do is widened the roads to provide dedicated lane (for the hybrid vehicle to run) like the ones for rapid buses,” he said.
He pointed out that such advanced technology can help preserve the aesthetic beauty of Kuching city particularly the heritage area.
“It can be implemented faster and it is also cheaper. Let me plan first (before testing ART on Kuching roads),” he continued.
Abang Johari said state government is looking at new and innovative technologies to create a smart and eco-friendly city that will make urban areas safer, healthier and better to live in.
This included deploying hydrogen-powered buses, which began its public road testing from today till Aug 14.
“Kuching is the first city in Malaysia and Asean region to use hydrogen buses (in its public transportation system). We started with an electric bus but we want to use better technology that has less impact on the climate and the environment,” he said.
“Battery disposal is one of the biggest challenges faced globally. So we are trying to find other solutions and now we are going for hydrogen (fuel cell),” he added.
Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) general manager Abdul Hadi Datuk Abdul Kadir announced in its official Facebook page yesterday that the Road Transport Department (RTD) and Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) had given their approval for the commissioning of the service here.
The trial run would be closely monitored by officers from SEDC and engineers from Sarawak Energy Bhd, Foshan Feichi Automobile Manufacturing Co Ltd of China and Linde Hydrogen FuelTech.
The trial run would test the buses on the consumption level of hydrogen fuel to determine the filling capacity and the optimisation of the hydrogen plant operation.
Abang Johari also congratulated Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) for their excellent performances and achievements that contributed to the development of Kuching city for the past 31 years.
“Our development will not stop here. We want our city to be safe and liveable by equipping with latest facilities using advanced technology to connect people to the city,” he said.
The chief minister’s wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing, MBKS mayor Datuk James Chan and DBKU Datuk Bandar Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai were present. — DayakDaily