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The Kuching e-Bus service was recently launched in the capital city of Sarawak.
The bus service, know as the Kuching Metro Electric Bus service makes Kuching City, the first city in Malaysia to offer such services.
Previously, the service was already plying Kuching’s city roads on a trial basis with one bus servicing 26 bus stops in the city since 1st March 2019.
Interestingly, the e-bus service will still be offered for free from the day of its relaunch, which was 2 March 2021.
Kuching e-Bus fleet
There was only one e-bus during the trial run of the service when it began in March 2019.
Due to the positive feedback obtained during this experimental run, the number of buses had to be increased.
Now, four buses will be under the service and it was made known during the recent re-launching of the services last 2 March 2021.
DayakDaily reported that the bus model is known as the CRRC Electric City Bus, and it cost RM1.2 million each. It can travel up to 300km on a single charge with a maximum speed of 70km/h.
Each 10.5m e-bus has a maximum seating capacity of 52 passengers, with 26 seated passengers and 26 standing passengers.
According to Sarawak Bus Truck Community on Facebook, the bus bodywork is by Gemilang Coachwork, and Henz Pacific Sdn Bhd is the company that manages the bus.
Kuching electric bus service facilities
The busses are equipped with free WIFI, CCTVs, automated bus stop announcement system, real time broadcast content control system, video passengers counter and is disable friendly.
Rakan Sarawak reported that there’s also a foldable bicycle storage compartment on the e-buses.
The interior of the bus is modern and clean, while the outside looks fresh.
Borneo Post also reported that the batteries of each bus can last at least eight years before it needs to be replaced.
Whereabouts of the bus is also made know via the Kuching Metro app which is downloadable on both the PlayStore and AppStore.
Kuching e-Bus route
Each of the four buses will operate a specific route in Kuching, which includes destinations to sub-urban Kuching as well.
This is more than the previous routes covered during the trial run in 2019.
The daily schedule begins at 6AM from the main stop at the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building in Petra Jaya, and the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre in Padawan.
Another two buses will start service two hours later from the same starting point.
Each bus will cover 107 stops (inbound and outbound) until 4PM with a total of six journeys made per day, per bus.
The following are the 54 stops for the Kuching e-bus service:
- Sarawak State Legislative building (DUN Saarawak)
- Wisma Bapa Malaysia
- Baitulmakmur Building
- Normal Medical Centre
- Wisma Kafaz
- SMK Petra Jaya
- SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman
- Kubah Ria / Satok Market
- Wisma Satok,
- Al-Idrus Commercial Centre,
- Sarawak Museum
- Open Air Market
- Darul Hana Bridge,
- Chinese History Museum,
- Kuching Waterfront,
- Jalan Abell,
- Padungan Big White Cat Statue
- Ang Cheng Ho Commercial Centre,
- Kuching South City Council (MBKS),
- Crown Square
- Sekama Police Station
- Mendu Commercial Centre
- Panovel Commercial Centre
- The Spring Mall Kuching
- Swinburne University of Technology
- King Centre
- Floridale Condominium
- VivaCity Megamall
- Tabuan Jaya Commercial Centre
- MBKS Stutong Community Market
- Setia Commercial Centre
- Malaysia – China Friendship Park
- CityOne Megamall Kuching
- 101 Commercial Centre
- Gala City Commercial Centre
- RH Commercial Centre
- BDC Blessed Sacrement Church
- Saradise Commercial Centre
- BDC Commercial Centre
- KPJ Kuching Specialist Hospital
- Lions Nursing Home
- Aeroville Mall
- Kuching International Airport
- Kuching Sentra Express Bus Terminal
- Kota Sentosa Commercial Centre
- Sentosa Parade
- SMK Wira Penrissen
- Open University Malaysia
- Padwan Municipal Council
- Pitcher Plant Garden
- Kota Padawan Church of St Ann
- Semenggoh Wildlife Centre
A map of the route can be seen below.
Going beyond Kuching
The Sarawak government plans to expand the electric bus service to other cities in Kuching although no exact time line has been mentioned.
It was noted in a report by Rakan Sarawak that the city of Sibu, Miri and Bintulu are part of future plans to have such services.
Personal opinion & conclusion
Looking at the route and stops, plus considering the fact it’s a free mode of transportation from the sub-urban, and urban side of Kuching, it is felt that the e-bus service is something Kuching needs.
It not only connects major tourist spots in Kuching City, but also provides services to shopping malls and government offices. This will very helpful if I’d choose to save on fuel and not brave the city traffic.
Aside from helping the environment, the buses also have an app to track their movement, which in turn will help plan my journey from specific locations to other destinations.
The frequency of the bus however should be increased in the near future if the ridership increases.
Overall, it’s a great addition to Kuching, and it’s a great effort to reduce traffic in the city and further reduce carbon footprint and air pollution in Kuching.