Sarawak closer to public transport transformation with arrival of ART prototype

KUCHING — Sarawak is now a step closer to realising its goal to modernise its public transportation with the arrival of a prototype of the Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) hydrogen-powered vehicle today.

Sarawak Economic Development Corporation’s (SEDC) wholly owned subsidiary, Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd said the ART prototype arrived at the Senari Port Terminal here around 8 am after setting sail from the Shanghai Port on July 15.

The historic moment was witnessed by SEDC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain, who said that the arrival of the prototype marked another milestone for Sarawak Metro, the company in charge of implementing the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS).

“This is also another milestone for the government in its efforts to transform Sarawak into an advanced economy by 2030, where a modern public transport system is vital for the state’s development,” he said in the statement.

Abdul Aziz is confident that once the ART starts operating in two years’ time, Kuching’s socio-economic landscape will be significantly transformed as envisioned by Sarawak’s top leaders.

“This project will definitely be a game changer for the state’s economic landscape,” he said.

The shipment comprised a three-car set that will be assembled by a technical crew from CRRC Zhuzhou Institute Co. Ltd together with engineers and technicians from Sarawak Metro.

The assembly is expected to be completed within two weeks, followed by the engineering run which starts on Sept 1 to refine the specification of the ART and identify any potential issues before the start of the Proof-of-Concept exercise to be held in November.

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

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

Sarawak Metro said Phase 1 of the KUTS project is scheduled to be completed by 2027, and the service will be complemented by a hydrogen-powered feeder bus network that will provide the first-mile and last-mile connectivity for KUTS. — BERNAMA