The Kuching ART (Automated Rapid Transit) is part of the Sarawak ART project which is a massive transportation project undertaken by the Sarawak Government to connect major locations in Kuching , and nearby divisions with key destinations.
Previously, the Sarawak government planned to use the LRT system for the project, but further identified ART as the more viable alternative.
It is also known as the Sarawak ART project since it is not exclusive to Kuching, but rather connects the Kuching, Samarahan and Serian divisions.
The ART service is part of the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) which will be centred in a the Rembus depot.
COST OF SARAWAK ART PROJECT & TYPE OF TRAINS USED
Initially proposed as an LRT service, it was expected to cost RM10.8 billion.
However after consideration, the Sarawak ART project is to cost much less due to its conversion to the new ART system.
The project is not exclusive to Kuching, but rather connects the Kuching and Samarahan divisions for Phase 1 of the project and Serian division in the next phase.
The ART service is part of the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) project, of which the control centre will be located at the proposed Rembus depot.
Initially electric trains were preferred for the system as Sarawak is a major electricity producer. However, it is now confirmed that hydrogen powered trains would be used instead.
These hybrid trains, which are a combination of a bus, train and tram can carry up to 300 people at a time.
The ART system will use virtual tracks on dedicated lanes and the articulated hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) will run on rubber tires.
THE SARAWAK ART ROUTE
The route of the Sarawak ART as shown on the Sarawak Metro website shows that the ART will have two major lines, namely the Samarahan Line (Blue Line) and Serian Line (Red Line).
The Blue Line is estimated to begin service in 2025 and stretches about 27 km from Station SM3 near UNIMAS’s East Campus to Station IS2 near the Hikmah Exchange area.
The Red Line is from Station SR9 at 12th Mile Kuching-Serian Road to Station SR19 at The Isthmus and is about 23 km in length.
Both routes will integrate at Simpang Tiga Station.
A third line, known as City Dispersal Line for now is still in planning stages and has yet to be finalized.
The proposed route of the Blue Line would cover the following landmarks/areas:
- Hikmah Exchange
- Police HQ
- Jalan Sentral Timur
- Jalan Tabuan
- Simpang Tiga
- Vivacity Megamall
- Wisma Wan
- La Promenade
- Sarawak Heart Centre
- AIMAN MALL
- SUMMER MALL
The Red Line on the other hand would cover areas nearby:
- JPJ HQ
- Kota Padawan
- Kota Sentosa
- Kuching Sentral
- Kuching Airport
- Gala City
- CityOne Megamall
- The Spring Mall
- Jalan Tun Razak
- SMK Pending
WHEN WILL THE ART BE READY?
The Kuching ART (Phase 1) is at its planning and development stage, with construction work expected to begin sometime in 2022.
According to a timeline shown on the Sarawak Metro site, the pilot run for Blue Line would begin as early as 2023.
The ART service for the Blue Line will commence in 2025, with the Red Line starting a year later.
FYI, this post was updated after Sarawak Metro contacted us with more interesting developments on the project.