Kuching scored a lead in public transportation when it introduced three hydrogen buses on 1st August 2019.
These buses were painted in red and white, and are hard to miss. They boast the words ‘Hydrogen bus’ plastered on its red body.
Known popularly as Kuching hydrogen bus, the three buses are part of the government’s efforts to improve public transportation in Kuching. The service is said to be a first of its kind in Malaysia.
The introduction of the buses also makes Kuching the first city in Malaysia to use zero emission buses.
Trial run of hydrogen bus in Kuching
The three buses are already a common sight in Kuching city since 1st August 2019 as it moves up and down the roads of the city on a trial run.
According to a report by DayakDaily, these buses undertook a two week trial run in the city. This trial run is to test and monitor its performances and address any refuelling issues that could arise.
It is understood that the trial run was done without any passengers.
The trial period ended last 14 August 2019 and would be open for public use in September 2019. The Kuching Hydrogen bus service had obtained approval from the Road Transport Department (RTD) and Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) for operations.
The trial run was monitored by SEDC and engineers from Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), Foshan Feichi Automobile Manufacturing Co Ltd of China, and Linde Hydrogen FuelTech.
Refuelling of the bus was done at the Sarawak Energy regional office in Bintawa.
Facilities on the bus
The Hydrogen bus is considered part of Kuching’s effort to modernized public transportation. Therefore, the bus offers free WIFI (Internet) services, and GPS tracking of the bus route via it’s H2 Bus App.
Aside from that, the bus is fully airconditioned, and has special seats (blue in colour) for the elderly and the disabled.
There was also a small LED TV in front of the bus, with LED text also flying in the LED display in front.
Kuching Hydrogen Bus tickets and fees
On August 13, The Borneo Post reported that rides on the Kuching Hydrogen Bus would be made available for free to the public from 15 September 2019.
Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain made the announcement.
He said that two buses will be available to the public. The third bus would be meant for tourists and would cover tourist spots.
As of 7 June 2022, bus rides on the hydrogen bus are still free.
Kuching Hydrogen Bus routes
There isn’t a specific (or formal) route for the Kuching Hydrogen Bus service just yet. The trial run which started on 1 August 2019 however covered major parts of Kuching.
Among the routes used during the trial run are:
- Kuching Waterfront to Damai Beach in Santubong
- Jalan Tun Abdul Rahman Yaakub to Medan Niaga Kubah Ria
- Kuching City route that covers: Jalan Abell, Jalan Padungan, Jalan Sentral Timur, Jalan Tun Haji Openg, Jalan Satok, Jalan Kulas, Jalan Muda Hashim, and Jalan Datuk Ajibah Abol
Later on, two main routes were made permanent for the Kuching Hydrogen Bus with one route known as the Downtown Heritage Loop, and the other known as the Damai Loop.
The Downtown Heritage Loop is shorter and has more frequencies as you can see below.
The Damai Loop which is longer, has less frequencies, and covers the roads below.
Bus schedule and app
The bus location can easily be monitored using the H2 App which is dedicated to tracking the movement of the bus.
Using the app is free and it can be downloaded on both the Android Play Store and Apple App Store.
MORE OPTIONS TO GET AROUND KUCHING
The new hydrogen bus service is only one of the many public transportation available in Kuching, A few months ago, the Kuching Electric Bus services was also announced.
The sole electric bus service had since already been commissioned within Kuching City..
This service adds to the already reliable ride-hailing/sharing service offered by GRAB Kuching.